The decrease in chick survival has been one of the most important reasons for the decline in the abundance of Grey Partridges Perdix perdix in Europe in the recent decades. Therefore, it is important to know the habits of these birds during the period of raising chicks. The habitat use, movements and home range sizes of partridges rearing their chicks up to three weeks old were studied in western Poland in the years 1995–2001. Twenty one pairs with chicks were localized daily by radiotracking. The partridge broods mostly used cereals (54.4% of their locations), but permanent wild vegetation (19.6%) turned out to be preferred. Most locations (56.8%) took place up to 10 m from field edges. The average distance of daily movements was 160 m (range 0–890 m) and was shorter in the diversified landscape of small fields than in the simplified landscape of large fields. The area of home ranges (100% MCP) during the first three weeks of chick's life averaged 12.0 ha (range 2.9–34.1 ha) and no significant differences were found between the two field types. The size of home ranges decreased with the proportion of cereals and wild vegetation in the regions where individual broods occurred. It was concluded that large-scale crop fields create worse living conditions for Grey Partridge broods than more diverse small fields.
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Vol. 56 • No. 2