eWestern Birds

The Quarterly Journal of Western Field Ornithologists

Vol. 48, No. 3
August 2017
Western Field Ornithologists

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Geographic Variation and Intergradation in the Elegant Quail
Diego C. Blanco, Devon A. DeRaad, and James M. Maley

ABSTRACT: The Elegant Quail (Callipepla douglasii) is restricted to western mainland Mexico from Sonora south to Jalisco. It comprises five subspecies, described primarily on the basis of differences in plumage color and patterns. To assess patterns of differentiation in the Elegant Quail, we examined 114 specimens representing these five subspecies in the Moore Laboratory of Zoology. We measured wing chord, tail length, exposed culmen, and tarsus length, finding that males were significantly larger than females but that the only significant size difference between subspecies was that nominate douglasii has a tail longer than in the other four. Thus size is a minor component of the Elegant Quail’s geographic variation in comparison to that in plumage color and pattern. We examined the plumage of specimens from southern Sonora and northern Sinaloa and found that several appeared to be intergrades between C. d. douglasii and C. d. bensoni and between C. d. bensoni and C. d. languens.

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