We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a California Quail?

By Angie Bates
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The California quail is a short-necked, round game bird found in the United States, most commonly in California, Oregon, and Washington. Also called the valley quail, this bird became the official state bird of California in 1931. The scientific name for the California quail is Callipepla californica.

Playing a role in many Disney® movies, such as Bambi, the California quail is easily distinguished by its head plume. The plume is a clump of six feathers, which appear to be a single large feather. Always black, the plume sits on the top of the bird's head, thicker at the top and drooping to give the appearance of a large apostrophe.

Male California quails are shades of gray or blue-gray, with thick white stripes on the cheeks of their black faces. The females have no facial markings and are dull brown. Both sexes have brown and white scale-like patterns on their bellies. These birds are usually 9.4–10.6 inches (24–27 cm) long, with wingspans of 12.6–14.6 inches (22–37 cm). They usually weigh about 5–8 ounces (142–230 g).

Although they can fly, California quails spend most of their time on the ground, usually only taking flight when startled. They prefer shrubbed or woodland areas. Males will often perch in trees or on man-made structures. These birds mostly eat seeds, but they can also eat leaves or insects. California quails are extremely tolerant of drought and can get their required water from eating insects during dry seasons.

California quails usually travel in groups called coveys, which can have as many as 200 birds but usually average 20–25. In the spring, they pair off for mating season. Nests are 1–2 inch (2.54–5.1 cm) deep hollows in the ground that are lined with grass and hidden under shrubs or at the base of trees. They usually hold 12-16 eggs, though sometimes they can have as many as 28. This increase is due to a practice among these birds called nest dumping, where females lay eggs in other females' nests.

Eggs are incubated for 22 or 23 days. Hatchlings are downy and mobile, but stay in the nest for the first two days after hatching. Both parents take care of the hatchlings. The female uses her body heat to keep them warm at night until they can regulate their temperatures on their own.

The California quail has several different types of calls, including aggressive, alarm, and advertisement calls. The assembly call, however, which sounds to the human ear like "chi-ca-go" or "cu-ca-cow," is the most commonly heard call. It is usually repeated up to ten times and given when a bird is separated from its covey.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.