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almost all the quails migrate to a certain distance, and hence perform lengthened journeys, often across the seas. In their habits they also show considerable difference, as they never perch.”
Our bird does perch, however ; ergo, it is not a quail. Taking English names as the standard, we certainly make ourselves ridiculous in applying them to our birds. Thus we call vultures, buzzard and crow; a thrush, robin—the English blackbird is a thrush ;-a buzzard, hawk; and more locally, a grouse, partridge ; an ortyx, quail; and a perch, salmon !
Should a State Legislature make it penal to kill, “pheasants, partridges, and quails,” I would not hesitate to incur a suit, as I could prove that these families are not in America. For my own part I like this confusion, and should like to see it ten times greater, as it would tend to throw the vulgar names into disrepute. I go so far as to erase the English names from the plates of my works of natural history. I believe I have stated all the facts of the case, and leave it with the reader to decide with what propriety he has hitherto applied certain English names to the Ortvx VIRGINIANA and Tetrao Um
PARTRIDGE AND QUAIL.
To the Editor of the "American Turf Register and Sporting Magazine"- .
DEAR EDITOR :—Having read with some interest a communication headed " All in the wrong,” from your correspondent H., of Marietta, I presume,-such at least was the date of his article, published in your December number—but not
perceiving that he has shown that I am either all, or at all, in
I wish to have one last word in the question. You will of course remember that this controversy arose from the fact of H. having put forth an article, entitled “ Corrigenda," in your December number, containing strictures on a very beautifully written, sportive, and humorous paper in your number for October—“Some Observations Concerning Quail”—by J. Cypress, Jr. This paper was evidently written as a jeu d'esprit, laying no pretension to ornithological research, or superior wisdom-but was clearly the production of the leisure moments of a sportsman, scholar, and gentleman —wherein, inter alia, he laughed at ornithologists for calling “bevies of quail, flocks of partridge.”
On this paper-my object is briefly to place before your readers the disjecta membra of the whole discussion-on this paper H. discourses thus ;
“The writer proves himself entirely ignorant of ornithology, by his blunders in nomenclature. Thus he is writing about the Perdix Virginiana –Virginian Partridge,—and not about the Perdix Coturnix-European quail.—The first is a true partridge belonging to the same genus with the European partridge, viz., ortyx; whilst the quail belongs to the subgenus coturnix. In Pennsylvania and Southward, and in English books, our bird is called—and correctly—partridge.”
In reply to this, I—Frank Forester-observed in your January number, as follows, immediately after quoting the above extract;
“Now the gist of all this amounts to a single assertion that the American bird belongs to a different genus from the
English Quail, and is a partridge. Now this I am satisfied is an error.”
I proceed to state that “ as I can testify from my own observation, the American bird is, in size, general appearance, character of plumage, and cry, much more nearly connected with the English quail than with any partridge existing.”
Thirdly I said —"and I am satisfied that facts will bear out my opinion that the Perdix Virginiana is not a true partridge -and is not correctly termed a partridge in Pennsylvania, any more than the ruffed grouse-Tetrao umbellus—is correctly termed a pheasant in the same regions."
Lastly I said “ that the term ortyx is an absurd term to use in opposition to coturnix, as distinguishing partridge from quail”—because ortyx-prut-is the Greek, and Coturnix the Latin, name for the European quail."
Now though in his article in your February number H. says that their-i. e. mine and Cypress's—views do not appear to him correct, I wish to point out to you that so far from confuting one of my positions, he has confirmed them all; and entirely changed his own ground.
In his first December paper he asserts—" that the American bird, Perdix virginiana, is a true partridge, belonging to the same subgenus with the European partridge, viz., ortyx."
To this I responded not that the American bird is a quailBut “that it is not a true partridge—nor of the same subgenus with the European partridge--and farther that the word ortyx would be an absurd term as distinctive between partridge and quail.”
Now hear H. in his present paper-February No. p. 111 -"Mr. Forester is right and I am wrong with regard to the subgenus of the European partridges, which belong to the subgenus perdix, or partridge proper !!"
Again he says—"Linnæus named the only North American bird of the family Tetrao; 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 .!”
Ergo! by his own showing, the American bird is not, as he asserted, and I denied, of the same subgenus with the European partridge; nor a perdix—which he defines Partridge proper! and I defined true partridge !-at all.
So far, then, H. has left his position, and come over to mine!
In the next place I asserted that ortyx-jprvž in Greekwas an absurd word to use as a distinctive term between the quail and partridge. H. having asserted that the European partridge and American quail-so called commonly-are ortyges ; and the European quail a coturnix !
And the reason which I gave was, that the words oprus and coturnix are the same tern, meaning the same thing in two languages.
H. now admits that the new word ortyx is a term invented not to distinguish the quail from the partridge, but to distinguish the European Quail from a nameless American bird, which is neither quail nor partridge! In this sense Frank Forester never objected to the term; and every part of his first position is carried out-excepting the remark that the American bird is more nearly connected with the European quail than with any partridge existing; and on this point I will say a few words anon.
H., then, has come over tò my statements. First—that the American bird is not of the same subgenus with the European partridge, nor is a proper partridge at all!
Secondly, that the European partridge is not an ortyx; and
Thirdly, that the term ortyx has not been applied as a distinction between quail and partridge ; but between quail and a bird hitherto nameless, and indeed seemingly so still in the vernacular.
Hear what he says !—“Whence the partridge, quail, and American bird belong to three"-misprinted those—“distinct
subgenera, our bird being as far removed as ever from any species of quail, of which there are several !”
Here, then, I might close my article ; for I never asserted that the American bird was a quail—and all that I did assert
- viz., that he was not a partridge—is granted. Therefore, none of my views before stated were incorrect, nor was I all in the wrong, or wrong at all.
Now, however, we will go a little farther, and see what ORtyx virginianus is, and what we must call him-and whether he is more closely allied to Partridge or to Quail.
And first—Why did the Naturalists, who formed the subdivision of the genus, call him ortyx-oproš—the Greek for quail ? If they had only wished to make a distinction showing him equally far from quail and partridge, they would not have merely rested contented with calling him quail, in a varied language or dialect.
In my humble opinion the very choice of the name shows that the discriminating Naturalist—who discovered the small points of distinction “ between the quail and thick strong-billed partridges of the new world,” which he admits to be “so similar, that they are not to be distinguished without a knowledge of their habits and an examination of their forms”_considered the distinction between the American bird and the quail, less than the distinction between the same bird and the partridge.
It will of course be seen at once that the writer quoted above—Sir William Jardine—means that the quail and American bird are “so similar as not to be distinguished without a knowledge of their habits, and an examination of their forms” and not the European quail and European partridge! For it is obvious that—the European Grey partridge being thirteen inches long, and the European Red-legged partridge the same length, but heavier and stronger, while the European quail