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fact that there is no evidence of their knowledge of any sort of grouse, unless, indeed, partridge, and quail are to be referred to that genus, and for these they had distinct names, viz. Perdix and Coturnix. Linnæus, in 1740 or thereabouts, does so refer to them, and in the mention of the quail in what he esteems its proper place, calls our quail Tetrao Virginianus. He, however, finds another species in Maryland, adjoining, which is, nevertheless, precisely the same bird,and ushers it to the world under the title of Tetrao Marilandus.
But this reference to Quail again reminds me that I am trespassing upon your pages, and that the subject is a dry one. I come now to a conclusion.
V." It is not the less to be admired that they call the quail Perdix Virginiana," says Cypress, finally, in his
And so they do. Latham begins the nomenclature, leaving out the Tetrao of Linnæus, and substituting perdix. Yes, Mr. Turf, that is the fact, according to those learned cognoscents. We leap out with our dogs, and do some moderate work among a few bevies, as we call them, of what we also call Quail, but when we come home, we are told that the quail does not live in this country-that we have only tumbled Virginian partridges-Perdix Virginiana! So says Mr. Audubon. What then? Have we no quail in this country? Suppose we shoot in Maryland, is our game, then, the Virginian Partridge! Latham says no; they are the Maryland Partridge? What shall we call our bird in New York, Jersey, and the New England States? Perdix Neo-Eboracensis? Perdix Nova-Cesariensis? Perdix Nova-Brittanicus !— A fico for these affectations. Why do not ornithologists
agree upon standard names to put at the head of their genus ?* And what is more natural than that they should, in a case like this, take the long, well-settled, and established word Coturnix for the name of the genus of the tribe, and then let the different species come in with their tributes of honor and respect? Yet Latham, Audubon, and others, have utterly stricken Coturnix from existence, so far as the country is concerned.
But enough. I forbear. I had not aspired to pull down, or even to amend the system as established, but have merely made a passing comment upon it, in one or two particulars.
The strictures of Mr. H. have compelled me to defend myself from the charge of entire ignorance, want of honesty, and constructive falsehood. Having thus the opportunity before me, I will assure Mr. H. that there is no authority of modern date, however potential, that will induce us sportsmen and farmers of the North to give up the name of " quail." When our New England forefathers first arrived in this country, some of them wrote back the most glowing accounts of their new home, and among other game enumerated "Quailes," appearing to observe no difference between those they found here and those they had left behind in England.† Quails all over the world belong to the same genus. The quail of Cuba, which I have seen on its native island, is a bright various plumage-colored bird, painted as it were, with almost all the colors of the rainbow. But this is only his style of dress in the West Indian seas.
* The confusion and uncertainty produced by the affectation and vanity of ornithologists appear well illustrated even in the Rev. Gilbert White in his History of Selbourne. He speaks of "the little American partridge, the Ortix borealis of Naturalists," Pray, what is that? Ortyx is Latin for a plantain.
+ Vide Hazard's State Papers.
The same is
animals there are gorgeously apparrelled. Still he is Coturnix. Such is his every day Spanish name. the case with Perdix. Permit me, then, to universal coturnix.-Good morning.
"ALL IN THE WRONG."
stand by the J. C., Jr.
THE Communications of Messrs. Forester and Cypress Jr., have recalled my attention to the nomenclature of the partridges; and as their views do not appear to me to be correct, and as I have myself committed an error, I think a few farther remarks may not be amiss, premising that I had the use of a good library at hand when I penned the former article, and can make no reference except to my own on this occasion. On account of their being standard modern works, I shall make use of the following, and the synonymes therein cited;
1. Jardine's Natural History of Game Birds.
2. Jenyn's Manual of British Vertebrate Animals.*-
Edinburgh: 1839. 4. Nuttall's Ornithology of the United States and Canada.Boston: 1840.
* Mr. Forester asserts that Bewick is "decidedly the best British ornithologist." Bewick's is certainly a good book, but there are better works
Linnæus, although a great naturalist, and the father of zoological nomenclature, had a very imperfect conception of what constitutes a genus. Thus, besides including the brown, black, and white bears in the genus Ursus, he named our raccoon Ursus lotor although it is not a bear. It is now called Procyon lotor a new generic name being given to it, to which the old specific name has been added. The genus Tetrao of Linnæus is restricted to the grouse, and a more recent division separates the ptarmigans under the name Lagopus, generally considered a subgenus of the former. I will take the fox as an illustration of a subgenus. The Linnæan genus Canis includes the foxes, the European species being the Canis vulpes. But the foxes are not considered to differ sufficiently from the dogs to entitle them to a distinct generic appellation; hence they are placed in the subgenus Vulpes, being distinguished by the pointed muzzle, bushy tail, and especially by having a long narrow pupil, which in the dogs, is circular. Now if we call the foxes Vulpes, we cannot call the European species Vulpes vulpes, but must invent a new specific name, hence this animal is termed Vulpes vulgaris but it is a rule that no specific name can be changed unless a change like this occurs. Linnæus named the only North American bird of the partridge family Tetrao Virginianus; when the genus Perdix was instituted, it became Perdix Virginianus, and now that a more minute or subgeneric-distinction is thought necessary, it becomes an Ortyx. Those who do not admit the last division continue to call the genus Perdix; and it would be just as absurd to call a raccoon and a badger Ursus as this bird Tetrao. If it is proper for those ornithologists who do not admit the
devoted exclusively to British birds; as those of Selby, Yarrel, and Macgillivray, the two last beautifully illustrated with woodcuts. Sir Wm. Jardine's work on the same subject is not all published.
subgenera Perdix, Ortyx, Coturnix, and Lophortix-Californian partridges with plumed heads,—to name all these Perdix, it is certainly not improper to term the Ortyges partridges, for although the quail of Europe may be considered a kind of partridge, no partridge or Ortyx can be considered a kind of quail. Mr. Forester is right, and I am wrong, with respect to the subgenus of the European partridges, which belong to the subgenus Perdix, or partridge proper; whence the parttridge, quail, and American bird, belong to three* distinct subgenera, our bird being as far removed as ever from any species of quail, of which there are many. Mr. Forester objects to the term Ortyx, but it cannot be changed, as being the first proposed for the section to which it is attached; and it was chosen because it was easier to adopt, than to invent a new name. The Turkey genus is called by a Latin name for the
"The English books" to which I referred in part, are those whose titles stand above. Jardine calls our bird "The Virginian quail or partridge,-following Wilson, of whose work he edited an English edition,-whilst Jenyn terms it "Virginian partridge." Latham makes three species of it, viz: "the Virginian, Maryland, and Mexican partridge," the last being the young, according to Nuttall. Shaw calls it "Northern Colin," this term meaning " a bird of the partridge kind."— [Webster.] Were the bird a quail, Shaw would have said so, being well acquainted with the quails. It is also the "American partridge or quail" of Nuttall.
I inferred that Mr. Cypress Jr. had not read the modern authors on our ornithology, because he says the partridge is called Tetrao, and I think my inference a fair one. How
* Originally printed those in the Turf Register. See p. 141.