Evaluating Physiological Condition Of Bobwhite Quail

A total of 146 bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) was collected during the winters of 1972-73 and 1973-74, from 2 study areas in Tennessee and 1 area in Florida. Body weight, levels of body fat, burden of gastrointestinal helminths, and adrenal weights were determined. Quail from the Tennessee areas were significantly (P < 0.05) heavier than those from the Florida area. Fat was extracted using a Soxhlet ether extraction apparatus, and was expressed as a percentage of oven-dry body weight. Percentage body fat differed significantly (P < 0.05) among all areas, being greatest in east Tennessee (13.7%) and least in Florida (10.4%). Infection rates of gastrointestinal helminths varied among areas and years, with birds from east Tennessee showing markedly lower infection rates (59.5%) than birds from the other two areas (100%). The overall rate of cestode infection (19.3%) was much lower than the rate of nematode infection (88.3%). Heavier adrenals were associated with decreased fat levels. On one area, parasite load had a significant effect on adrenal weight (P < 0.05). Percentage body fat, adrenal weight, and parasite burden in combination may provide a good indicator of population condition, once norms, or base values, for that population are established.

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