Comparison of migratory tendency in European Quail Coturnix c. coturnix, domestic Japanese Quail Coturnix c. japonica and their hybrids

Quail (Coturnix coturnix) Science Article 4

abstract

Since the 1970s, the decline of the occidental populations of European Quail Coturnix c. coturnix, a partial migrant Galliform species, has driven the release of domestic Japanese Quail Coturnix c. japonica into the wild as game birds. Recent experiments suggest that reproductive isolating mechanisms have not developed to prevent hybridization between European and Japanese Quail. To assess the potential impact of hybridization between the subspecies in the wild, this study aims to compare the migratory characteristics of captive European Quail, domestic Japanese Quail, F1 hybrids and a backcross. In a laboratory experiment, birds hatched in summer and reared under a natural photoperiod were transferred during winter to an artificial photoperiod (light-dark) of 14 : 10 h. Behavioural (migratory restlessness, crowing activity in males) and physiological (sexual development, fat accumulation, body mass) measures were recorded. Domestic Japanese Quail showed no migratory tendency in response to the increased day length.

SEBASTIEN DEREGNAUCOURT, JEAN-CHARLES GUYOMARC’H & MOHAMED BELHAMRA, Ibis 147 (1), 25-36

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