The California Quail

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  1. California Quail
  2. 30 Extremely Astonishing Facts About the California Valley Quail
  3. Callipepla californica
  4. Academy Blogroll

California Quail: Originally, this species was a resident from southern Oregon south to Baja California, but it has been introduced to the Pacific northwest, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. Its preferred habitats include brushy chaparral foothills, live oak canyons, and adjacent deserts and suburbs. California Quail B1. California Quail C1. Only found in the Americas, the Odontophoridae pronounced oh-don-toh-FOR-ih-dee , or the quail family, encompasses thirty-two species in nine genera.

The Northern Bobwhite of eastern brushy fields and the plumed quail species of the west are members of this family. The new world quails are known for their ability to remain hidden and immobile until almost underfoot whereupon they burst into the air with whirring wings; a trait that makes them popular among hunters.

Small, chicken-like birds, new world quails are rotund, short-tailed and short-winged with stout bills, and strong legs and feet. New world quail in North America sport handsomely patterned plumages that are a mix of browns, grays, and white with black markings. The patterns of streaks and spots help conceal these birds in the grassy undergrowth they inhabit.

New world quail are birds of the grassy undergrowth and are distributed in the United States from the east more common in the southeast to the west except for the northern and central Great Plains, and most of the Rocky Mountains. North American quail species do not migrate; a fact that limits them to warmer, milder climates and periodically reduces populations of Northern Bobwhite at the northern edge of their range.

All new world quail species in the United States have stable populations except for the Northern Bobwhite, a species that has demonstrated a steady decline related to changes in its habitat. Some new world quail species, such as the Northern Bobwhite, are known to sleep huddled together to conserve heat. They sleep in an outward-facing circle to facilitate escape from nocturnal predators.

Field Guide to Birds of North America. Species Overview. California Quail. Callipepla californica. Family New World Quail Odontophoridae. Code 4 CAQU.

California Quail

Like to see your photo here-Submission Guidelines Photos we are missing. SUMMARY Overview California Quail: This medium-sized quail has a curled black head plume, white-bordered black throat, gray breast, sharply scaled belly, brown flanks with white streaks, olive brown back, gray legs and feet. California Quail B1 Your browser does not support the audio element. Advertising call is a repeated "kow". California Quail C1 Your browser does not support the audio element. Assembly call is three syllables, sounds like "chi-CA-go".

Similar Sounding. It is the state bird of California. The covey locations and range size depended on the amount of brush cover available. The four territories were separated by yards to half a mile and contact between the coveys was infrequent. The members of a covey tended to feed and roost together in mid-winter, but occasionally they broke up into smaller units.

Winter movements were restricted with only 5 to 10 acres of an entire territory utilized by the covey on any one day.

The same area would serve as a feeding ground for a few days to two or three weeks when the birds would move to another part of their territory. The nesting season caused a major shift in the social organization and local distribution of the quail. Starting in late February the coveys began to break up into pairs and unattached males began to leave the covey, sometimes fighting to maintain territory in the vicinity of nesting pairs. Mated birds had rather small home ranges of only acres prior to the start of nesting, and even smaller ranges of about acres thereafter.

In the fall, nine broods and 13 unattached stragglers merged into 4 new coveys. California quail are monogamous, but usually pair up with new mates each spring Genelly Females build their nests on the ground, well hidden under a bush or a brush pile. While the female feeds or constructs the nest, the male perches conspicuously above her where he can observe any potential threat to his mate. He stands motionless, sending out notes of either reassurance or warning Sumner Females lay spotted cream-colored eggs and incubate them for days and lay a second clutch on occasion Johnsgard Once the chicks are hatched, both parents tend to the young.

Chicks are precocious, feeding on their own shortly after hatching and the male acts as guardian while the young birds forage. The adult male tends to lose weight during this period, spending more time on the alert rather than feeding. While most broods are reared by their parents alone, communal brooding in California quail populations has been observed.


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Parents of communal broods lived significantly longer 3. The chicks grow rapidly, initially fledging at about two weeks of age and completing their juvenile plumage by about 11 weeks. By the age of 21 to 23 weeks all of the juvenile flight feathers except for the outer two are replaced by adult-like plumage Raitt, Chicks are capable of short flights by the time they are a little over two weeks of age and are fully mature and capable of breeding at the age of ten months Leopold California quail are short lived with high mortality and high reproductive rates.

The number of quail in a population is constantly undergoing change.

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30 Extremely Astonishing Facts About the California Valley Quail

The average rate of mortality is 74 percent. Mortality is highest in the first year of life. Only one bird in several thousand will live to be five years old. California quail are part of a group of quail found only in the Americas called the New World quails. The taxonomic status of the family has been debated for many years.

On the Hunt for San Francisco's Official Bird

They were more often considered part of the subfamily Phasianidae which includes the Old World quails, partridges, francolins, and pheasants del Hoyo However, from DNA hybridization evidence it became surprisingly clear that New World quail are not closely related to Old World quail, turkeys or grouse Sibley Sibley concluded that the Odontophoridae must be the descendants of an early divergence about 63 million years ago in South America during its isolation from North America.

The New World quail include nine genera with Dendrortyx tree quails as the earliest representative. Odontophorus wood quails , Rhynchortyx ex. Tawny-faced quail , Dactylortyx, and Cyrtonyx ex. Montezuma quail are genera predominantly adapted to the forest and are found in Central and South America. Colinus bobwhite quails , Callipepla ex.

California quail , Oreortyx ex. Mountain quail , and Philortyx ex. Barred quail are adapted to forest edge and are found primarily in North and Central America del Hoyo Like the family taxonomic status, the genera of New World quail has also been debated over the years. Callipepla and Lophortyx have often been classified apart, but the differences between the two are considered too slight to be considered two genera.

Callipepla californica

Instead the two forms are united in Callipepla. They also suggest that Dendrortyx and Odontophorus diverged at least 16 million years ago del Hoyo According to Johnsgard , the largest number of total quail species and the largest number of endemic quail species occur in Central and South America, whereas North America has the largest number of genera and endemic genera. The most primitive genera Dentrortyx and Odontophyorus are found in Mexico and further south, indicating the New World quail had their center of evolutionary history and speciation in tropical America.

California quail have a continuous native distribution that extends roughly miles from Baja California to southern Oregon and about miles from the California coast east into a small portion of western Nevada Fig. The species can be found in almost all of Baja California and California, except for high elevations of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains and in the Colorado and eastern Mojave Deserts Leopold While endemic in their native range, California quail have been widely transplanted throughout the West and now occur extensively in Oregon and Washington and are found throughout northern Nevada, western Idaho, and parts of British Columbia and Utah Fig.

The species has also been successfully introduced to other parts of the world, including Hawaii, New Zealand, western Argentina, and central Chile Leopold California quail are one of six species of native quail in the western United States. The native ranges of the two species are allopatric, slightly overlapping along their border in southern California. Just to the east and west of this narrow border, however, the quail maintain distinct ranges. Johnsgard suggests that the Sierra Nevada Mountains provided an effective geographic barrier that allowed speciation to develop.

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Today, the major climatic differences on each of its slopes prevents extensive overlap of the two species. Like California quail, Mountain quail occur widely throughout California, from northern Baja California to Oregon, but the two species are geographically isolated for most of the year throughout their range. Mountain quail prefer conifer and oak forests, or dense chaparral, and can be found at elevations up to 10, feet Scott , while California quail are common in more open areas at low elevations.

In some areas, the two species are sympatric all year round.

The California quail population has been divided into eight subspecies, occupying different parts of their range. Each subspecies has slight differences in coloration, size, and habit Johnsgard , del Hoyo European settlement, dramatic changes in the landscape, relocation, and interest in quails for sport and food have led to the distributions we see today.


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  4. California Quail (Callipepla californica).
  5. California quail are currently important in the business of hunting for sport and extensive management exists in some areas. In San Francisco, the species is on the verge of becoming locally extinct. With about 1, quail in the park at the turn of the century, the population declined to 12 in