(Heb. kore, קֹרֵא, so named from its calling, 1Sa 26:20, Sept. νυκτοκόραξ, Vulg. perdix; Jer 17:11, Sept. πέρδιξ, Vulg. perdix), a bird mentioned in Scripture only in the two passages referred to above. Bochart would understand by it the snipe (Hieroz. 2:652 sq.), on the ground of the similarity of the word kore to the supposed Arabic karia; but the argument rests on a very. doubtful basis, and, besides, the snipe does not seem! from the context to be the bird intended (see Faber: on Harmer, Observ. 1:306 sq.). Faber himself understands the same bird. called in Arabic katta or katha (see Hasselquist, Travels, p, 331 sq.; Schr6der, Spec. Hieroz. 2:81), Which, however, is really a quail (see Oedmahnn, Samnml. 2:54 sq., who, in 2:57, identifies the karia of Arabic writers with the Merops apiaster, or bee-eater). For the former theories on the meaning of the word, see Rosenmüller, ad Bochart, 2:736; Gesenius, Thesaur. p. 1232 sq.
The rock-partridge is strong on the wing, and fleet of foot. It is wild and shy, sagacious in availing itself of whatever facilities for concealment may be afforded by the district in which it happens to be. The flesh is used as food by the Arabs, though it is dry, and far inferior in flavor to that of our species. Its powers and craft make its pursuit an exciting sport, and hence it is hunted with avidity. Dr. Shaw (Travels, p. 236) describes the mode of hunting the partridge thus: "The Arabs have another, though a more laborious method of catching these birds; for, observing that they become languid and fatigued after they have been hastily put up twice or thrice, they immediately run in upon them, and knock them down with their zerwattys, or bludgeons, as we should call them." On this Harmer (Observ. 2:76) comments as follows: "It was precisely in this manner that Saul hunted David, coming hastily upon him, and putting him up from time to time, in hopes that he should at length, by frequent repetitions of it, be able to destroy him." Egmont and Heymen (2:49) give an account of the manner of taking snipes in the Holy Land, very much like the Arab way of catching partridges. They say that if the company be numerous, they may be hunted on horseback, as they are then never suffered to rest till they are so tired that you may almost take them in your hand. But snipes delight in watery places. David, therefore, being in dry deserts, might rather mention the partridge.
It will be seen by the marginal reading that the passage in Jeremiah may bear the following interpretation: As the kore "gathereth young which she hath not brought forth." This rendering is supported by the Sept. and Vulg., and is that which Maurer (Comment. in Jer. l.c.), Rosenmüller (Sch. in Jer. l.c.),. Gesenius (Thesaur. s.v.), and scholars generally adopt. In order to meet the requirements of this latter interpretation, it has been asserted that the partridge is in the habit of stealing the eggs from the nests of its congeners and of sitting upon them, and that when the young are hatched they forsake their false parent; hence, it is said, the meaning of the simile: the man who has become rich by dishonest means loses his riches, as the fictitious partridge her stolen brood (see Jerome in Jerem. l.c.). It is perhaps almost needless to remark that this is a mere fable, in which, however, then ancient. Orientals may have believed. There is a passage in the Arabian naturalist Damir, quoted by Bochart (Hieroz. 2:638), which shows that in his time this opinion was held with regard to some kind of partridge. The explanation of the rendering of the text of the A.V. is obviously as follows. Partridges were often hunted in ancient times as they are at present, either by hawking, or by being driven from place to place till they become fatigued, when they are easily captured or killed in the manner above described. Thus nests were no doubt constantly disturbed, and many destroyed: as, therefore, is a partridge which is driven from her eggs, so is he that enricheth himself by unjust means — "he shall leave them in the midst of his days." The expression in Ecclesiasticus 11:30, "like as a partridge taken (and kept) in a cage," clearly refers, as Shaw (Travels, l.c.) has observed, to "a decoy partridge," and the Greek πέρδιξ θηρευτής should have been so translated, as is evident both from the context and the Greek words; comp. Aristot. Hist. Anim. 9:9, § 3 and 4. The "hunting this bird upon the mountains" (1Sa 26:20) entirely agrees with the habits of the Greek partridge (Caccabis saxatilis) and the desert partridge (Ammoperdix Heyi). The.specific name of the former is partly indicative of the localities it frequents, viz. rocky and hilly ground covered with brushwood. Our common partridge (Perdix cinerea), as well as the Barbary (C .petrosa) and red-leg (C. rufa), do not occur in Palestine,
Late commentators state that there are four species of the tetrao (grouse) of Linnaeus abundant in Palestine; the francolin (T. francolinus); the katta (T. alchata), the red-legged or Barbary partridge (T. petrosus), and the Greek partridge (T. saxatilis). In this now obsolete classification there are included not less than three genera, according to the more correct systems of recent writers, and not one strictly a grouse occurs in the number, though the real T. urogallus, or cock of the woods, is reported as frequenting Asia Minor in winter, and in that case is probably no stranger in Libanus. There is, however, the genus Pterocles, of which the P. alchata is the katta (ganga, cata), and pin-tailed grouse of authors, a species very common in Palestine, and innumerable in Arabia; but it is not the only one, for the sand-grouse of Latham (P. arenarius) occurs in France, Spain, Barbary, Arabia, Persia, and on the north side of the Mediterranean, or all round Palestine. P. Arabicus, and probably P. exustus, or the Arabian and singed gangas, occur equally in the open districts of the south, peopling the desert along with the ostrich. All are distinguished from other genera of Tetraonidae by their long and powerful wings, enabling them to reach water, which they delight to drink in abundance; and by this propensity they often indicate to the thirsty caravan in what direction to find relief. They feed more on insects, larvae, and worms than on seeds, and, none of the species having a perfect hind toe that reaches the ground, they run fast: these characteristics are of some importance in determining whether they were held to be really clean birds, and consequently could be the selav of the Israelites, which our versions have rendered "quail." SEE QUAIL. The francolin forms a second genus, of which F. vulgaris, or the common tree- partridge, is the Syrian species best known, though most likely not the only one of that country. It is larger than the ganga; the male is always provided with one pair of spurs 'though others of the genus have two), and has the tail longer than true partridges. This species is valued for the table, is of handsome plumage, and common from Spain and France, on both sides of the Mediterranean, eastward to Bengal. The partridge is a third genus, reckoning in Syria the two species before named, both red-legged and furnished with orange and black crescents on the sides; but the other markings differ, and "the Barbary species is smaller than the Greek. They are inferior in delicacy to the common partridge, and it is probable that Perdix rufa and the Caspian partridge, both resembling the former in many particulars, are no strangers in Syria. The expostulation of David with Saul, where he says, "The king of Israel is come out to seek a flea as when one doth hunt a partridge on the mouutains," is perfectly natural; for the red- legged partridges are partial to upland brushwood, which is not an uncommon chatacter of the hills and mountains of Palestine; and the kore sitting on her eggs and not hatching them (Jer 17:11) alludes to the liability of the nest being trodden under foot, or robbed by carnivorous animals, notwithstanding all the care and interesting manoeuvres of the parent birds to save it or the brood; for this genus is monogamous, nestles on the ground, and both male and female sit and anxiously watch over the safety. of their young. This explanation renders it unnecessary to resort to exploded notions drawn from the ancients. Little regard is paid to specific and generic identity, by the rabbinical and Arabian writers. The name קראֹ kore, is, we think, derived from the voice of a bird, and more than one species of bastard is thereby indicated in various tongues to the extremity of Africa and of India; among which Otis cory and Otis Arabs are so called at this day, although the first mentioned resides on the plains of Western India, the second in Arabia. Both these, however, appear to be the same species. "Cory" is likewise applied in Caffrarkia to a bustard, which from an indigenous word has been converted by the Dutch into knorhaan. Notwithstanding the pretended etymology of the word, by which it is made to indicate a long beak, none of the genus, not even Otis Denhanzi (a large bird of Northern Africa), has it long, it being, in fact, middle-sized in all. Thus it would appear that the type of the name belongs to Otis, and it might be maintained that species of that genus were known to the Hebrews; by their name keor, were it not for the fact that birds bearing this name were hunted by the Hebrews, which could not well have been the case had they not included other genera; for bustards, being without a hind toe, were considered unclean, while partridges, having it, were clean. The ganga, or katta, being provided with a small, incomplete one, may have offered an instance where the judgment of the priesthood must have decided. SEE UNCLEAN (BIRDS).
The following account of the bird denoted by the Heb. kote, taken from Tristram's Nat. Hist. of the Bible, s.v., is probably the. most correct: "The commonest partridge of the Holy Land is the Greek partridge (Caccabis saxatilis), a bird somewhat resembling our red-legged partridge in plumage, with the richly barred feathers on the flanks, and deep-red legs and bill, but. much larger, approaching the pheasant in size, and very distinct in habits from our gray partridge. In every part of the hill country, whether wooded or bare, it abounds, and its ringing call-note in early morning echoes from cliff to cliff alike amid the barrenness of the hills of Judaea and in the glens of the forest of Carmel. The male birds will stand erect on some boulder, sending their cheery challenge, to some rival across the wady, till, the moment they perceive themselves detected, they drop down from their throne and scud up the hill faster than any dog, screening themselves from sight by any projecting rock as they run. The coveys in autumn are very large; but the birds do not pack very much in winter, probably from the necessity of dispersing themselves to obtain food. In the wilder parts of Galilee the Greek partridge is especially abundant. The Syrian bird is, I am inclined to believe, a distinct variety from any other. In coloration it closely resembles the Indian Chukor partridge, but it is much larger, exceeding even the specimens from continental Greece in size, and it has a deeper black gorget than the bird from other countries. Whether it be a species or variety, the Syrian bird is undoubtedly the largest and the finest of all the true partridges. The Greek partridge inhabits a wide range from east to west, extending from Galicia, in the west of Spain, through the Pyrenees and Alps to Greece, Asia Minor, Persia, and Northern India- at least, the species of all these countries are very closely allied.
"'The true partridge of the wilderness is another and very different bird (A mmoperdix Heyi), decidedly smaller than the common English partridge, and a bird of most delicate penciling in its plumage. The bill and legs are a rich orange color, the back finely mottled, a bright white spot behind the eye, and the flanks striped with purple and red-brown. It is peculiar, so far as we know, to Arabia Petreea. the basin of the Dead Sea and its wadies, and to the eastern strip of the wilderness of Judaea, where it supplants in some degree the larger species, though both are found in the same localities. In the neighborhood of the Cave of Adullam it is very plentiful, and it often lays its beautiful cream-colored eggs in holes in caves, as well as under the shelter of crevices of rocks. It runs with wonderful agility up and down the cliffs, and its call-note is like that of the other partridge.
"In the rich lowland plains, as of Gennesaret, Acre, and Phoenicia, the place of the partridge is taken by the francolin, a bird of the same family, well known in India as the black partridge, and formerly found in Southern Europe as far as Spain, but now quite extinct on the Continent. The francolin (Francolinus vulgaris) is as large and heavy as the red grouse, concealing itself in the dense herbage and growing corn of marshy plains, where its singular call can be heard, as on Gennesareth, resounding at daybreak from every part of the plain while not a bird can be seen. It is distinguished from the hajel, or partridge, by the Arabs, but was doubtless included under kore by the Hebrews. The male bird is very beautiful, with deep black breast flanks black with large white spots, and a rich chestnut colar fringed with black and. white spots.
"With the partridges may also be included the sandgrouse (Pterocles), of which several species occur in great abundance in the more and parts of the country. Some have supposed the sand-grouse to have been the 'quail' of the Israelites in the wilderness — both, as it appears, needles conjectures. The sand-grouse are recognized by very distinct names by the Orientals. They are a peculiar group of gamebirds, in some respects approaching the pigeons, and inhabit the sandy regions of Africa and Asia in myriads. Two species are found so far north as Spain, and in the 'Landes' in the south of France. One of these (Pterocles arenarius), the common sand-grouse, the khudry of the Arabs, inhabits the wilderness of Judaea, and the other (P. sefarnus), the pin-tailed sand-grouse, the kata of the Arabs, may be seen passing over the barer parts of the Jordan valley and the eastern desert by thousands at a time. It was beautifully described by Russell in the Natural History of Aleppo, more than a century ago. Two other species, also common in Arabia and Egypt, abound in the wilderness of Judaea and near the Dead Sea (P. exustus and P. Senegalensis), both birds remarkable for the delicate markings of their plumage, but, like all the species of the genus, of a general sandy hue, which admirably assists them in escaping observation on the bare plains." SEE BIRD.