Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Nov 6 11:25:11 UTC 2011

I came across a story
Is this the last of the bobwhites?

It's the usual drama of a family pet who's been grown to become dinner
being too cute to be cut down in its prime. But this is followed by the
revelation that bobwhites may become "threatened" in Louisiana. And more
blah-blah. Not important.

This got me checking for "bobwhites".

OED is sticking to old guns:

bob-white, n.
> A popular name of the common partridge of North America (
> /Odontophorus virginianus/).

Well, that's half-right.

Bobwhite is a quail, not a partridge. Well, a quail /may/ be a partridge
if it's an Old-World quail, belonging to family Phasianidae (which
obviously also includes pheasant). New World quail is Odontophoridae,
which looks similar to what the OED claims it is. Unfortunately, almost
100% of OED taxonomy is outdated, unchanged since the earliest days.
While the family is correct, the genus and species are quite different
now. In fact, there are at least four bobwhite species.

Going by Wiki listing,

Genus Colinus

     Northern Bobwhite, Colinus virginianus
     Black-throated Bobwhite, Colinus nigrogularis
     Spot-bellied Bobwhite, Colinus leucopogon
     Crested Bobwhite, Colinus cristatus

Note that the first species name is actually the same even though the
genus changed. Still, the OED description can use some refreshing. Not
that it should not have had the correct classification from the
beginning--the Northern and Crested species had been identified in the
1750s-60s, and the other two in 1842-3.

Government records ( give the same information (since the Wiki
article is derived from it).


The American Dialect Society -

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