Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) and Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata) occur throughout northwestern Texas and overall population numbers have been declining for the past 30 yr. This decline has been attributed to habitat loss associated with intensive agricultural practices. We propose that disease may be a contributing factor to decline. Our findings suggest that West Nile virus (WNV) infection may be common in wild quail populations on the Rolling Plains of northwestern Texas. Serum samples (n=301) from wild-caught Northern Bobwhite and Scaled Quail were collected during 2008–10 from seven private properties across the Rolling Plains Region; 5.3% had detectable antibodies against WNV using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. To our knowledge, this is the first report of antibodies to WNV in Scaled Quail and wild-caught Northern Bobwhite from the Rolling Plains of Texas.
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Vol. 49 • No. 2