Spring dispersal and agonistic behaviour of the Red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa)


  • *The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire sG19 2DL.


Spring behaviour, dispersal and population changes were studied in two populations of individually marked Red-legged partridges.

Young males took up home ranges close to their natal site but young females dispersed away. The incidence of agonistic behaviour between males, the extent of the spring decline in population density and the distance dispersed by males between the winter and breeding ranges were less in an area with more abundant nesting cover.

Half the neighbours of a typical male came from the same winter social group. These groups were based on family parties. Males from the same winter group showed less frequent agonistic behaviour to each other and had more overlapped home ranges than those from different groups.