Hainan partridge -- 海南山鹧鸪 (Arborophila ardens)

Hainan partridge in hand
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Hainan partridge fact file

Hainan partridge description

GenusArborophila (1)

This typical, grey-brown partridge can be recognised by the boldly contrasting colour of its bright orange neck. This vivid colour separates the grey breast from the black head, which bears a distinctive and conspicuous white ear spot (2) (3). The female is similar to the male but paler below (2). Pairs of Hainan partridges give far-carrying territorial duets comprising of two-note (falling then rising) whistles, often repeated (3).

Also known as
Hainan hill-partridge.
Length: c. 28 cm (2)

Hainan partridge biology

The Hainan partridge forages for food amongst the leaf-litter of the forest floor, feeding on the seeds, insects and small snails it unearths (2) (4).

The breeding season lasts from February until May, when the species’ distinctive courtship calls can be heard, and clutches of two to three eggs are normal (4).


Hainan partridge range

The Hainan partridge is believed to be endemic to Hainan Island, off the south coast of China, although there is an unconfirmed report from southern Guangxi, China (2) (4).


Hainan partridge habitat

The Hainan partridge is mainly confined to primary, tropical evergreen forest between 600 and 1,600 metres above sea level, but also found in some evergreen forests that have been previously logged but are now well recovered (3).


Hainan partridge status

The Hainan partridge is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


Hainan partridge threats

The Hainan partridge is threatened by the rapid and extensive deforestation on the island in the past 50 years, severely reducing and fragmenting its range (3) (4). Forest clearance is mainly the result of excessive timber extraction, the replacement of forest by rubber plantations, shifting agriculture and the unrestricted cutting of wood for fuel and other uses (3). Although a logging ban has been enforced since 1994, helping to reduce the rate of forest loss on Hainan in recent years, illegal logging has been recorded. Illegal hunting for food also poses a threat to the Hainan partridge, even in protected areas (4). The island also has a rapidly growing human population in support of an expanding tourist industry, which may lead to additional future threats from development (5).


Hainan partridge conservation

The Hainan partridge is nationally protected in China and hunting is therefore illegal (4). The ban on logging primary forest has also lessened, though not eradicated, the pressure on this bird’s habitat (3) (4). Populations have been recorded in Fanjia, Bawangling, Bangxi, Jianfengling, Jianling, Wuzhishan, Liulianling, Shangxi, Baishuiling, Nanwan, Diaoluoshan Limushan and Nanweiling Nature Reserves (3). The South China Institute of Endangered Animals started a successful Hainan Partridge captive-breeding programme in 1991, but for any future conservation programmes to succeed, habitat protection must remain a priority (4) (5).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

For more information on the Hainan partridge see:



Authenticated (10/04/08) by Dr John P. Carroll, Co-Chair of the IUCN-SSC/BirdLife International/WPA Partridge, Quail and Francolins Specialist Group.



A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Primary forest
Forest that has remained undisturbed for a long time and has reached a mature condition.


  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2008)
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1994) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: New World Vultures To Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. BirdLife International (August, 2006)
  4. BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.
  5. Carroll, J.P. (2008) Pers. comm.

Image credit

Hainan partridge in hand  
Hainan partridge in hand

© Liang Wei

Dr. Liang Wei
Hainan Province Education Centre
of Ecology and Environment
Department of Biology
Hainan Normal University
Haikou 571158
Hainan Province
P. R. China
Tel: +86 (898) 65890520
Fax: +86 (898) 65890520


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