Grey Partridges are native to Europe and central Asia, and have been introduced to North America. In the 19th century they were common, and indeed increasing, in Great Britain, particularly in England and southern Scotland, apparently as a result of favourable changes in agricultural practices. In the 20th century however this process went into reverse, as changes such as greater use of herbicides began to have a negative rather than positive influence on numbers. This trend accelerated from the 1960s: the national population declined by 91% between 1967 and 2010.
    Grey Partridges were very common in Wiltshire in the 19th century, but declined in line with the national trend in the 20th, though they remained wide-spread. Birds of Wiltshire recorded them present in summer in 361 tetrads, with confirmed or probable breeding in 114. By 2012 however the numbers had reduced to 148 tetrads with breeding in only 88 of them. The winter distribution figures on the other hand showed an upward trend: the partial surveys conducted for Birds of Wiltshire recorded the species present in only 10% of the tetrads surveyed, equivalent to 92 tetrads overall. The surveys for  Bird Atlas 2007-2011 showed they had expanded their range by 60%, to 148 tetrads. 


The following references are used throughout these species accounts, in the abbreviated form given in quotation marks:
1968-72 Breeding Atlas” – Sharrack, J.T.R. 1976:  The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1981-84 Winter Atlas” – Lack, P.C. 1986:  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1988-91 Breeding Atlas” – Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993: The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. T. & A. Poyser
Birds of Wiltshire” – Ferguson-Lees, I.J. et al. 2007 : Birds of Wiltshire, published by the tetrad atlas group of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society after mapping fieldwork 1995-2000. Wiltshire Ornithological Society.
Bird Atlas 2007-2011” – Balmer, D.E., Gillings, S., Caffrey, B.J., Swann, R.L., Downie, I.S. and Fuller, R.J. 2013: Bird Atlas 2007-2011: the Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland
WTA2” – ("Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2 ") the present electronic publication, bringing together the Wiltshire data from “Birds of Wiltshire” and “Bird Atlas 2007-11”, together with data from further fieldwork carried out in 2011 and 2012.
"Hobby" - the annual bird report of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society.