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Partridge

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature

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Fig. 288—Partridge

Partridge (;; ). Late commentators state that there are four species of the tetrao (grouse) of Linnæus abundant in Palestine: the francolin (T. francolinus), the katta (T. alchata), the red-legged or Barbary partridge (T. petrosus), and the Greek partridge (T. saxatilis). In this now obsolete classification there are included not less than three genera, according to the more correct systems of recent writers, and not one strictly a grouse occurs in the number, though the real T. Urogallus, or cock of the woods, is reported to frequent Asia Minor in winter, and in that case is probably no stranger in Libanus. There is, however, the genus Pterocles, of which the P. alchata is the katta, ganga, cata, and pin-tailed grouse of authors, a species very common in Palestine, and innumerable in Arabia; but it is not the only one, for the sand-grouse of Latham (P. arenarius) occurs in France, Spain, Barbary, Arabia, Persia, and on the north side of the Mediterranean, or all round Palestine. P. Arabicus, and probably P. exustus, or the Arabian and singed gangas, occur equally in the open districts of the south, peopling the desert along with the ostrich. All are distinguished from other genera of Tetraonidæ by their long and powerful wings, enabling them to reach water, which they delight to drink in abundance; and by this propensity they often indicate to the thirsty caravan in what direction to find relief. They feed more on insects, larvae, and worms than on seeds, and none of the species having a perfect hind toe, that reaches the ground, they run fast: these characteristics are of some importance in determining whether they were held to be really clean birds, and consequently could be the selav of the Israelites, which our versions have rendered 'quail' [QUAIL; UNCLEAN BIRDS].

The Francolin forms a second genus, whereof the common tree-partridge is the Syrian species best known, though most likely not the only one of that country. It is larger than the ganga; the male is always provided with one pair of spurs (though others of the genus have two), and has the tail longer than true partridges. This species is valued for the table, is of handsome plumage, and common from Spain and France, on both sides of the Mediterranean, eastward to Bengal.

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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Partridge'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature". https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​kbe/​p/partridge.html.
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