The partridge bird lives throughout North America and Europe and is often hunted for its meat. It is a particularly favourite meal in some parts of Europe. Having knowledge of the partridge diet assists the hunter in catching his game.
Because we think of weeds as being obnoxious plants that ruin our gardens, we don't realise that birds like the partridge eat these plants for their nutritional value. Partridges not only eat weeds like dandelions but they also gobble up the seeds that these plants leave behind. Wild buckwheat, foxtail, and knotgrass are also some of the common weed seeds partridges eat.
Farmers might not appreciate partridges feasting on their crops but grains such as corn, wheat, rye and barley are all feast favourites to the partridge. This is a particular favourite of partridges in areas of Canada where grain is more common than leafy greens. This food is seasonal, therefore the birds eat it primarily in the summer and fall.
Grass is part of the partridge diet. The prairies in the United States are full of many types of long grasses, which also serve as a hiding place for partridges avoiding hunters.
Young partridges eat insects and older ones eat plants. The protein and other nutrients in these insects allow the young ones to grow large and plump. Some adults eat insects as well, but they only consist of about 10 per cent of their food intake.