Hybrid incompatibility, such as sterility and inviability, prevents gene flow between closely-related populations as a reproductive isolation barrier. F1 hybrids between chickens and Japanese quail (hereafter, referred to as quail), exhibit a high frequency of developmental arrest at the preprimitive streak stage. To investigate the molecular basis of the developmental arrest at the preprimitive streak stage in chicken-quail F1 hybrid embryos, we investigated chromosomal abnormalities in the hybrid embryos using molecular cytogenetic analysis. In addition, we quantified gene expression in parental species and chicken- and quail-derived allele-specific expression in the hybrids at the early blastoderm and preprimitive streak stages by mRNA sequencing. Subsequently, we compared the directions of change in gene expression, including upregulation, downregulation, or no change, from the early blastoderm stage to the preprimitive streak stage between parental species and their hybrids. Chromosome analysis revealed that the cells of the hybrid embryos contained a fifty-fifty mixture of parental chromosomes, and numerical chromosomal abnormalities were hardly observed in the hybrid cells. Gene expression analysis revealed that a part of the genes that were upregulated from the early blastoderm stage to the preprimitive streak stage in both parental species exhibited no upregulation of both chicken- and quail-derived alleles in the hybrids. GO term enrichment analysis revealed that these misregulated genes are involved in various biological processes, including ribosome-mediated protein synthesis and cell proliferation. Furthermore, the misregulated genes included genes involved in early embryonic development, such as primitive streak formation and gastrulation. These results suggest that numerical chromosomal abnormalities due to a segregation failure does not cause the lethality of chicken-quail hybrid embryos, and that the downregulated expression of the genes that are involved in various biological processes, including translation and primitive streak formation, mainly causes the developmental arrest at the preprimitive streak stage in the hybrids.