California Quail

California Quail are known for their comma-shaped feather plume (topknot) which extends from their forehead. Both males and females sport this topknot however males have longer topknots. They are plump birds that can be found foraging on the ground. Males are more ornate and have feathers that are gray and brown. They have black faces that are outlined with white feathers. Females are more plain, they have brown feathers and lack the facial markings sported by the males. Both males and females have a patterned belly with white, creamy and chestnut feathers.
SCIENTIFIC NAME
Callipepla californica
CLASSIFICATION
Bird
LIFE SPAN
1-4 Years
SIZE
9.4-10.6 ” | 0.6-0.5 lbs
STATE CONSERVATION STATUS
  • State Protected
FEDERAL CONSERVATION STATUS
Least Concern
GAME STATUS
Game
GAME TYPE
Upland Game
  1. Washoe
  2. Humboldt
  3. Pershing
  4. Churchill
  5. Mineral
  6. Lyon
  7. Douglas
  8. Carson City
  9. Storey
  1. Elko
  2. Lander
  3. Eureka
  4. White Pine
  1. Esmeralda
  2. Nye
  3. Lincoln
  4. Clark

Habitat & Range

California Quail can be found in a variety of habitats including our backyards. They are often found in scrub landscapes, open woodlands and in valleys where water is present.

  • Agricultural Lands
  • Cold desert shrubland and sagebrush
  • Developed Landscapes

Threats

  • Habitat Loss

Natural History

California Quail can be found foraging on the ground throughout the morning and evening. They eat a variety of food but the bulk of their diet is made up of seeds. They will also eat plant material like leaves, flowers and catkins. They can also eat small invertebrates like caterpillars and snails. California Quail typically nest on the ground and can have clutches that range from 12 to 16 eggs. After a 22 to 23 day incubation period, young quail will hatch and can be found following their parents who provide protection for the first three to four weeks of life.

Resources