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Game birds

Wild turkey, North America, males ("toms") 100–125 cm (39–49 in) long, females ("hens")76–95 cm (30–37 in) longChickens, turkeys, pheasants, guineafowl, peafowl, grouse, quail and partridges are among the birds known as game birds. The scientific name for the order, which includes around 250 species, is Galliformes. Strong runners, they have short wings and are ungainly flyers, most being unable to fly for long periods. They feed on seeds, fruits and invertebrates. Many kinds of game birds are bred or hunted by humans for food. Male game birds, often more colourful than the females, have elaborate courtship rituals that involve strutting, puffing up, fanning out feathers and making loud calls.


Chickens are descended from tropical forest birds, called red junglefowl, found in Southeast Asia. Many are kept for their eggs and their meat. When allowed to range freely, they scratch at the ground for insects, insect grubs and seeds to eat.
Red junglefowl

In the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas”, each verse ends with the line "and a partridge in a pear tree.” Since partridges are very unlikely to be seen in pear trees (they are ground-nesting birds), the “pear tree" in the song may be a mistranslation of the French word "perdrix”, which means “partridge”.


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