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



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



Ibis 147(1): 25-36



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. F1 hybrids showed rapid sexual development and few of them exhibited the typical profile of a migrant bird. Backcrosses showed great variation in their response, comparable with those of the European Quail. Therefore, hybridization could lead to an increased proportion of quail showing sedentary rather than migratory behaviour. Furthermore, hybrids that do show migratory behaviour have the potential to facilitate Japanese gene flow into areas where the release of domestic Quail as game birds is not yet practised.

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Accession: 022246542

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DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-919x.2004.00313.x


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