Throwback Thursday: A Hybrid Quail That Tried to Phone Home

Numerous papers on avian hybridization are published each month, applying the newest genomic and statistical techniques. But occasionally, one needs to escape to simpler times. That is the idea of this Throwback Thursday section on the blog: I dive into my huge collection of literature on avian hybridization and pick out a remarkable paper. Today concerns a short piece by M.E. Peck, published in The Condor in 1911. The short title almost says it all: A Hybrid Quail.

The bird in question is probably a cross between Mountain Quail (Oreortyx pictus) and California Quail (Callipepla californicus, in the paper referred to with the older generic name Lophortyx). The hybrid was found in Oregon, where it ‘was killed, apparently, by flying against a telephone wire.’ Mr. Peck himself collected the bird and mounted it ‘while fresh’. The morphological analysis shows that ‘[i]f this hybrid be compared point by point with the two parent forms, there will be found a remarkably even balance of characters derived from each; this is especially true of the coloration.’ Here is a – unfortunately black-and-white – picture of the mounted specimen:

Hybrid Quail

And for comparison, the two species that produced this fine specimen.


Mountain Quail (left) and California Quail

Finally, I would like to share the title page of this short paper. It is amazing how nice the old editions of these journals, such as The Condor, looked those days.



Peck, M. 1911. A hybrid quail. The Condor, 13: 149-151.

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