The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is a group of genetic loci coding for haplotypes that have been associated with fitness traits in mammals and birds. Such associations suggest that MHC diversity may be an indicator of overall genetic fitness of endangered or threatened species. The MHC haplotypes of a captive population of 12 families of northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus) were identified using a combination of immunogenetic and molecular techniques. Alloantisera were produced within families of northern bobwhites and were then tested for differential agglutination of erythrocytes of all members of each family. The pattern of reactions determined from testing these alloantisera identified a single genetic system of alloantigens in the northern bobwhites, resulting in the assignment of a tentative genotype to each individual within the quail families. Restriction fragment patterns of the DNA of each bird were determined using the chicken MHC B-G cDNA probe bg11. The concordance between the restriction fragment patterns and the alloantisera reactions showed that the alloantisera had identified the MHC of the northern bobwhite and supported the tentative genotype assignments, identifying at least 12 northern bobwhite MHC haplotypes.