top of page
  • Writer's pictureilyabirding


Updated: Dec 30, 2023

Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa

Red-legged Partridges were first introduced to Cornwall in about 1800, but its occurence on the Lizard is much more recent, and it is still uncommon. It is currently recorded sporadically on the south of Lizard and occasionally around Cury. Most probably relate to occasional releases though a viable small population on farmland in the unwatched hinterlands of the Lizard can't be ruled out. Records of singles include birds seen 2nd-3rd May 1990, 1st Apr-29th Sep 1997, 1st May 2007, 13th-15th Apr 2008, 24th Feb and 30th Apr 2019, 5 and 16th May and 7th-22nd Sep 2020 and 2nd Apr 2022. Two were seen on 24th Feb 2019, and three on 10th Nov 2018 (the highest count).

Grey Partridge Perdix perdix [BoCC5: Red]

Historically this species was quite common in Cornwall, with Rodd (1880) describing it as common and 'universally distributed'. It declined throughout the 20th century, though was a regular breeder on the Lizard in the 1980s and also bred around Lizard Village in the early 2000s with sightings at that time including 2 on 28th Apr 2000, 5 on 3rd Feb 2001, 1 on 15th Sep 2002 and 1 on 9th Jul 2003. Additional records include up to 8 on Goonhilly Downs on 1st Sep-30th Nov 2003, 6 at Gear Farm on 1st Jan 2005, and singles near Old Lizard Head in Jan 2014 and 2016, and at Coverack on 3rd Nov 2016. There have been no records since 2016.

Historic (1982) breeding distribution of Grey Partridge on the Lizard. All records relate to being present in the breeding season and possibly breeding, though breeding is unconfirmed.

Pheasant Phasianus colchicus

Evidence that this species occured in Palaeolithic Britain is inconclusive, but several races have been introduced to southern since the Roman times, and the species was probably introduced to Cornwall in the medieval period.

On the Lizard it is fairly common: 5-10 pairs breed in the south Lizard area and it occurs more commonly in the wooded areas on the north of Lizard. The self-sustaining population is undoubtedly supplemented by releases.

Pheasant, Porthleven. Ilya Maclean

Historic (1982) breeding distribution of Pheasant on the Lizard. Large squares indicate confirmed breeding, medium-sized squares probable breeding and small squares present in the breeding season and possibly breeding.

Quail Coturnix coturnix [BoCC5: Amber]

Little is known about the historic status of this species in Cornwall, though like the corncrake, it probably suffered from the mechanisation of farming, and nests are destroyed during mowing and reaping. On the Lizard, the only documented evidence of breeding is of family party of 8 birds seen near Loe Pool in 1975, though several pairs are also thought to have bred during the influx in 1989 when up to 18 were present for most of the summer.

It is currently predominantly a late spring migrant, mainly mid-May to end-June, more frequent in some years than in others. It is also seen in Autumn, with documented records being of single birds seen on 12th Sep 1933 (Trelowarren), 19th Sep 1977 (Bass Point), 29th Sep 1992 (south Lizard area), 7th Oct 2006 (south Lizard area), 18th Sep 2010 (Windmill Farm) and 4th Aug 2020 (Noc-Mig recording of one over Lizard Village).

Seasonal trends of initial sightings of Quail on the Lizard Peninsula (where dates available). Blue: pre-2020 records. Red: post-2020 records (including 2020).

Golden Pheasant Chrysolophus pictus

Several free-running birds were seen between Helford and St. Anthony Head in 1981 and 1982, though little is known about the origin of these.

63 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page