Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Bar-backed partridge

In Thai: นกกระทาดงอกสีน้ำตาล, nok gra-tha dong ok see-naam-taan

Binomial name: Arborophila brunneopectus, Edward Blyth, 1855

The bar-backed partridge (Arborophila brunneopectus), also known as the brown-breasted hill-partridge, is a species of partridge in the family Phasianidae. It is found in southwestern China and Southeast Asia.


English zoologist Edward Blyth first described the bar-backed partridge in 1855. It has three subspecies: A. b. brunneopectus, described by Blyth in 1855; A. b. henrici, described by Émile Oustalet in 1896; and A. b. albigula, described by Cecil Boden Kloss and Herbert Christopher Robinson in 1919. These subspecies differ in colouration and patterns of their underparts and head, respectively. Some identify the chestnut-bellied partridge and grey-breasted partridge or even the Sichuan partridge or red-breasted partridge as superspecies of the bar-backed partridge.


The bar-backed partridge is typically 280 mm long in total, with an average wingspan of 144 mm for males and 134 mm for females of the species. They usually have 6 - 7 cm tails, and their bills are about 20 - 21 mm in length. On average, males have a 42 mm tarsus, while females have 39 mm.

The males are similar in color to females. It is mostly buff in color, with black running from the beak, around the eyes, and to the throat, as well as a black crown and feather tips along its back. It has red eyelids, and its wing feathers are white with black tips, adding brown near the back of the bird.

Distribution and habitat

The bar-backed partridge is found in Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam over an estimated 486000 km2.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. It is typically found at relatively low elevations, under 3000, but have been seen at 5000 and above.


They flock in groups of about 4–9, usually consisting of two parents and their latest offspring or sometimes two families. They feed on seeds, small shells, and insects found in leaves on the forest floor. When disturbed by humans, they quickly scatter into the underbrush. Captive male bar-backed partridges attract a mate by exposing the red feathers around their throat and calling. They breed around May to June, and their 37 by 28 mm eggs are usually laid in a hole covered with bamboo and grass.


The bar-backed partridge has been evaluated as Least Concern by the IUCN due to its large range; however, its population is slowly declining because of habitat loss and hunting, although this decline is not steep enough to make it Vulnerable.

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Scientific classification

Arborophila brunneopectus

Common names

  • Thai: นกกระทาดงอกสีน้ำตาล, nok gra-tha dong ok see-naam-taan

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Range Map

Distribution map of Bar-backed partridge, Arborophila brunneopectus in Thailand
Range map of Arborophila brunneopectus in Thailand