California Quail

California Quail Picture

The California Quail

A California Quail is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify California Quails. We have also put together a list of fun California Quail t-shirts, California Quail bird patches, bird houses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers and other fun bird watching items.

About California Quails

California Quail is a handsome, rounded body bird with gray breasts and scaled underparts. It is often seen scratching the ground in large groups. They are very fearful, dashing to cover and bushes when frightened.

Description and Identification

California Quails – also known as valley quails – are small ground-dwelling birds with small
heads and bills. They have a curving crest of six feathers that droops forward; it is found to
be black in males and brown in females. They have a comma-shaped topknot of feathers
projecting from the forehead, longer in males than in females. The species exhibits a high
amount of sexual dimorphism, with males and females having distinct differences in the
colors of their feathers. Males have dark brown caps with black faces outlined with bold,
white stripes. Their chests are grayish blue with light brown bellies. The females are plain
brown with light-colored bellies, resembling juveniles but with a longer topknot. Both sexes
have a pattern of white chestnut scales on their bellies and white flanks. The average length
of the bird can range from 9.4 inches – 10.6 inches. The wingspan can be between 12.6 – 14.6

California Quail Color Pattern

Adult California Quail males have rich gray and brown layers of feathers. It has a black face bordered with a white stripe. Females, on the other hand, do not have white borders around their faces. Both males and females have chestnut scales on their underside with white and cream patterns.

California Quail

California Quail Size

California Quails are plump and short-necked with a small head. The tail is fairly long and square-shaped. Both the males and females have a comma-shaped topknot feather, though males have longer ones than their female counterparts. They have a relative measurement of:

  • Length 24 – 27 cm
  • Weight 140 – 230 g
  • Wingspan 32 – 37 cm

California Quail Behavior

They spend most of the time on the ground, scratching and walking in search of food. They forage under shrubs and open grounds in the morning and evening. California Quails are social traveling in small groups called coveys. They have strong explosive flight techniques that push them far enough into safety undercover.

California Quail Food

These birds require high amounts of protein along with plant-based nutrients. During the
summer, they consume a lot of invertebrates like millipedes, centipedes, caterpillars,
beetles, and snails. The plant-based food they consume is mainly seeds. They also have
flowers, leaves, berries, and grains from plants like poison oak, manzanita, and acorns. As
they are ground-dwelling birds, they find their food without much need for the flight.

Its diet is made up of mostly seeds and flowers, and fruits like poison oak berries. It is only 70 percent vegetarian, feeding on invertebrates like caterpillars and snails.

California Quail Habitat

California Quails are characteristic of coastal sagebrush, chaparral, foothills, and high
deserts. They prefer living in open woodlands, bushy areas, valleys with streams, and
suburbs, but have been found to adapt well to urbanization if there are sufficient amounts of
bird seeds. Their frequent appearances at suburban backyards have boosted their popularity
significantly along the western coast of the United States, although increasing urbanization
has been gradually decreasing the native populations of the birds due to higher competition
for limited food resources.

The California Quail is no stranger in the sagebrush and oak woodlands at the foothills of California and Northwest America. They can be found in parks and suburban areas as they are tolerant of humans

Range and Migration

California Quails are short, plump new world quails with characteristically beautiful plumages
found along the western coast of the United States and parts of Canada and southern
Mexico. They are state birds of California and are frequently visible near human civilization.
They are permanent residents of their regions and are non-migratory but can move within
their home territories in search of food.

California Quail Lifecycle

Females hide their nests on grounds at shrub bases or trees. Females lay an average of 12 to 16 eggs per breeding season and incubate them for 22 to 23 eggs. Immediately after hatching, they have the ability to follow their parents.

California Quail Nesting

The nests are made by the females and are typically found on the ground of shrubby or
grassy areas. They are found at the bases of trees but can occasionally be made at a height
of up to 10 feet from the ground. The nest is often a shallow depression in the ground that is
lined with stems and leaves for the structure. It can be stuffed with more leaves later on.
These nests are built near thick amounts of vegetation or by rocks for additional protection
from predators and natural elements. A clutch size usually involves 12 – 15 eggs in a
brood, with the incubation period ranging between 20 – 23 days. Annually, females may
have 1 – 2 broods.


Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes

At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.

  • Kids Bird Watching Monthly Subscription

    $20.00 / month
    Sign Up Now
  • Kid & Adult Bird Watching Starter Pack Subscription

    $20.00 / month and a $72.00 sign-up fee
    Sign Up Now
  • Kids Bird Watching Starter Pack Subscription

    $20.00 / month and a $19.00 sign-up fee
    Sign Up Now

Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying California Quails

The most common types of bird watching binoculars for viewing California Quails are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.

  • Birding Binoculars

    Birding Binoculars

    Add to cart
  • Kids Binocular 8x21

    Kids Binoculars

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California Quail T-shirts

If you love the California Quail you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.

California Quail Iron On Patches

Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron-on patches. Our bird-watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen and identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.

The California Quail is a great iron-on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.

California Quail Stickers

Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the California Quail. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.

Bird Feeders For California Quail

There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.

Best Bird Houses for California Quail

There are many types of birdhouses. Building a birdhouse is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 birdhouses have become our favorites. Getting a birdhouse for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these birdhouses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.

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