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Audubon-Havell California Mountain Quail

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27.     AUDUBON, J[ohn] J[ames]. 2. Plumed Partridge, Perdix Plumifera Gould. 2. Male. 3. Female. Thick-legged Partridge, Perdix Neoxenus, Aud. 1. Supposed Young Male. [below image] Drawn from Nature. by J.J. Audubon. F.R.S. F.L.S. | Engraved, Printed and Coloured by Robt. Havell, 1838. [above image] No. 85 | Plate CCCCXXII. [London, 1838]. Original copper-engraving with etching, aquatint, and hand-coloring on paper with watermark (J. WHATMAN 1838). Image: 26.5 x 49 cm; image and text: 31.2 x 53 cm; plate mark: 32.5 x 54.5 cm; overall sheet size: 61.5 x 97 cm. Professionally washed and deacidified, but some very faint browning remains. Soft folds to blank margins where formerly folded to fit frame, overall fine with excellent color retention.

     The Plumed Partridge now goes by the common name of California Mountain Quail and the scientific name Oreortyx pictus. The California Mountain Quail is considered the most beautiful of the quail species, and its vivid coloring, markings, and plumes are exceptionally fine and dramatic. This quail ranges in the Western United States from Washington State to Baja California, normally in elevations of up the 10,000 feet. The flight is typically short and explosive with many rapid wing beats followed by a slow, graceful glide to the ground. This quail is fast on its feet, and the speed with which they move through the underbrush has helped them survive. Grazing of sheep and destruction of underbrush have had a negative effect on the California Mountain Quail. In some areas the bird is now classified as critically imperiled (populations in eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, southwestern Idaho and central Nevada are in jeopardy).

     Audubon noted in the Ornithological Biography that the specimen of The Thick-Legged Partridge was obtained by Capt. Beechey, the drawing from the specimen owned by the Council of the Zoological Society. Audubon can be only sure enough to label the image “Supposed Young Male.” It seems now that the specimen is commonly known as the Crested Bobwhite (Colinus cristataus) and inhabits South America. Spencer F. Baird, in the Pacific Railroad Survey ornithological report also mentions this bird, but observes it is “stated to occur in California, but none have been seen there by reliable observers” (Vol. IX, 1858, p. 649).


Sold. Hammer: $1,000.00; Price Realized: $1,200.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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