Wednesday 19 September 2018 
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Palestinian partridge: Beauty on verge of extinction

A beautiful valley is located in an area covered with walnut trees, almonds, grapes, figs and oaks called the Valley of Walnut, falling between two mountains below Ayin Nanqar, in the southern western area of the city of al-Khalil, which barely sees the sun due to the abundance of trees

 

Pic reported:

 

A beautiful valley is located in an area covered with walnut trees, almonds, grapes, figs and oaks called the Valley of Walnut, falling between two mountains below Ayin Nanqar, in the southern western area of the city of al-Khalil, which barely sees the sun due to the abundance of trees, in particular the large walnut trees that shadow the valley, where hundreds of people sit under the shadow of the big branches of these trees.

 

A Beautiful bird
On the slopes of this valley and between its reefs and rocks, the Palestinian partridge, known for its beauty that looks like eye-catchy painting, could be found. It is a medium-sized bird, with the female species larger than the males. It is characterized by its colors, taking the form of yellow, orange, blue and gray stripes; these colors are distributed on the body of this beautiful Palestinian bird; the abdomen is striped with orange and yellow, while its beak and legs are red, the bird’s chest is often colored with blue and gray.

Reproduction of the partridge
 

In an interview with the PIC, Sa'adi al-Natsheh, an agricultural engineer, who is responsible for the Natural Development Department at the Agriculture Directorate in al-Khalil, said, “The partridges live in the mountainous areas, which are covered with rocks and herbs, and use it as a haven for reproduction, where water is abundant, such as water wells, floods, rivers and waterfalls.”

 

Al-Natsheh added, “The partridges move from one region to another in the form of swarms of not less than one group of one hundred birds, while the females establish their nests on the ground and not on the branches of trees, between plants and grass such as soybeans, gazelles and milk thistle, so that hunters don’t reach out to the young birds, while males protect the eggs before hatching; as female birds lay about 15-20 eggs during the season, and April is the month re-production for the partridges.”

 

The smart bird
Hamdi Abu Maizer, one of the merchants of wild birds in the Bab al-Zawiyeh market in al-Khalil, said that the partridges are intelligent. He noted to the PIC, “The female knows well how to protect the young birds in a wonderful way based on deception. When hunters approach the nest, the mother pushes them away, by flying at a low altitude not higher than a meter, and sometimes she hurries to walk on the ground until the hunters think they could catch her. Hunters begin chasing her. From one place to another and when they think they are about to catch her, she flies at high altitudes, thus hunters lose hope of catching her. This is aimed at keeping those who want to catch the young birds in the nest away, so the birds could go back to the nest and hide.”

 

Are the partridges on the verge of extinction?
Al-Natsheh said that the partridges are on the verge of extinction, noting, “The hunters are keen to catch the females, because they are fat and sometimes weigh one kilogram. They have big chests, and their flesh is heavier than their bones. Hunters believe hunting the female ones is profitable. Others prefer to hunt their chicks and put them in cages, feeding them until they become fat and grown up and become ready to be slaughtered and eaten. Others collect the eggs from the nests, placing them under certain temperatures, until they hatch. Then, they feed and sell them at chicken markets.”

 

One of the reasons that contributed to the imminent extinction of the partridges in Palestine is desertification and the transformation of many of the green areas to urban ones. On the other hand, hunters who hunt this beautiful bird for profit, including the male and female birds as well as their eggs, contribute to this possible extinction. This resulted in a significant decline in the numbers of this bird, which was famous in the nature of Wadi Al-Joz in al-Khalil, as well as in Wadi Qana, to the west of Salfit, and in Wadi Al-Bazan area to the east of Nablus.




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