The movement patterns and behaviour of unpaired male Grey Partridge Perdix perdix in the midlands of Ireland.
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The grey partridge (Perdix perdix) is endangered in Ireland with two remnant populations in the Irish midlands. Three radio-tracking studies were reviewed, Lullymore (52 km2), 1992-93; Boora (19 km2), 1995; and Boora (9 km2), 1997-98. The original data was analysed and information for five radio-tracked unpaired males is presented. Spring movements from day to day were often greater than 1 km and four out of the five birds left their respective study areas in search of females. Spring home range (Multiple Convex Polygon) was calculated for two birds at 309 ha and 109 ha. Several core areas were identified in each home range using cluster analysis. Some of these core areas were known to contain breeding pairs. Interactions between unpaired males and paired males were observed occasionally. One unpaired male was radio-tracked for 8 months. Movement patterns after mid-June were influenced in part by social interactions with other unsuccessfully breeding birds. The information gathered in this study confirms earlier published material, that unpaired males tend to be nomadic, their numbers fluctuate locally and they move several km. By moving between different breeding pairs they may displace a less dominant paired male or replace him in the event of mortality. In the Irish midlands there are a number of partridge meta-populations separated by several km. Unpaired males provide potential genetic flow between these populations. Their close association with pairs within the pair home range may allow extra-pair copulation to occur.