Crested Wood Partridge

Crested Wood Partridge

[ Rollulus rouloul ]

Quick Facts

BODY LENGTH: up to 10 inches
WILD DIET: insects, seeds, and fruit
ZOO DIET: leaves, grain, duck pellets and game bird maintenance
DISTRIBUTION: southeast Asia
HABITAT: tropical rainforests and bamboo thickets

A partridge in a pear tree?

Family Ties
Crested wood partridges belong to a group of birds known as gamebirds and include species such as pheasants, grouse, peacocks, and turkeys.  Like most gamebirds, partridges are plump with a small head and short, rounded wings.  Their wings aren’t ideal for long distance flying but are ideal for rapid escapes from predators.  The male and female crested wood partridge are strikingly different; males are bluish-black in color with a bright red crest and females are pea green.
Chicken Scratch
Crested wood partridges spend most of their day foraging the ground for insects and other food.  Like chickens, they use their feet to scratch the ground, stirring up nearby meals.  If frightened, crested wood partridges rely on those feet to quickly run away, but can fly short distances if necessary.  During the night hours, this ground dwelling bird sleeps in trees huddled next to other partridges.   
Cooperative Parenting
Crested wood partridges live in groups of up to 15 birds.  Breeding pairs dig tunnel-like nests, which are hidden beneath leaves on the rainforest floor.   Both parents can care for the 4 to 8 chicks that hatch, however, if the brood is larger, parents often divvy up the responsibility and care for half of the group each.  Chicks are fed for the first week, after which they forage the ground for their own meals. 
Crested Wood Partridges at Brookfield Zoo
The Perching Bird House is the only exhibit where you can see this unique ground bird at Brookfield Zoo.  At 9 years old, the lone female partridge was hatched at Minnesota Zoo, while her two male companions were born here in 2002.

Get Involved

Conservation Fund of the Chicago Zoological Society