The effect of nest site selection on nest predation in Grey Partridge Perdix perdix and Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa.
Nest site selection and nest predation were studied at 42 Grey Partridge and 65 Red-legged Partridge nests in southern England. The vegetation characteristics and other habitat features recorded at nests were compared with those recorded at randomly chosen points on field boundaries. Grey Partridges chose to nest where amounts of dead grass, leaf litter and bramble were greater and banks at the base of the field boundary were higher than in adjacent nesting cover. Red-legged Partridges nested where amounts of dead grass, nettle, bramble and leaf litter were greater than in surrounding field boundary vegetation. Grey Partridge nest predation decreased with increasing amounts of dead grass and increasing distance from gaps in the hedgerows. Red-legged Partridge nest predation decreased with increasing ground vegetation height. The consequences of nest site selection on nest predation are compared for the two species of partridge and considered in the light of the habitats in which they evolved.