We investigated spacing patterns of Pyrenean grey partridges Perdix perdix hispaniensis during the breeding season (March-September) to refine our recommendations concerning restoration of nesting and brood rearing habitats. The study was based on 30 grey partridges, 24 yearlings (19 males, five females) and six adults (five males, one female) radio-monitored in two study areas of the eastern Pyrenees. Movements and home ranges were analysed for the pre- and post-hatching periods. For each bird and period, we used cluster analysis to identify core areas within home ranges. Throughout the breeding season, 24 of the 30 birds were paired and six yearling males remained unpaired. The latter used larger home ranges than paired birds, at least before hatching. The home-range size (Minimum Convex Polygon) of the 24 pairs averaged 118 ha in spring (from pair formation to hatching) and 126 ha in summer (brood-rearing period). Pairs tended to use larger core areas after hatching (mean = 10.8 ha) than before (mean = 6.2 ha). After hatching, broodless pairs used larger core areas (mean = 14.4 ha) than those with broods (mean = 8.7 ha). For both groups, we found little overlap between core areas used before and after hatching. For unsuccessful breeders, the small overlap was associated with post-breeding movements to higher altitudes. For successful breeders, it was related to movements to brood rearing habitat. Daily inter-fix distances of broods averaged 126 m during the first three weeks after hatching, then regularly increased up to 249 m as chicks exceeded the age of six weeks. The size of core areas used by broods indicates that treatment plots should cover 5–10 ha to restore breeding habitats with a diversity of shrubland vegetation types.
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Vol. 12 • No. 1