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threatened and/or endangered

Gambel's Quail Callipepla gambelii


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Gambel's Quail, female
credit: Alan D. Wilson/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Odontophoridae, New World Quail view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has mainly gray upperparts, with scaly feathering on nape. Head markings comprise chestnut crown and black face and throat, colors defined by white lines. Neck is blue-gray and underparts are otherwise mainly buffy yellow, but note dark belly patch and chestnut flanks adorned with pale streaks. ADULT FEMALE Similar to male, but duller; male's head markings are absent. JUVENILE Similar to adult female, but with less distinct markings.

Dimensions Length: 10-11 1/2" (25-29 cm)

Habitat Common in deserts with dense scrub cover, often in the vicinity of waterholes.

Observation Tips Easiest to find in winter.

Range Rocky Mountains, Southwest, California, Texas

Voice Male utters kup-werr-kip or kup-keWerr-kip calls.

Discussion Attractive quail. Males are particularly well-marked and have an evocative call. Both sexes are adorned with a forward-curving, "comma-shaped" head plume, a feature shared with superficially similar California Quail; subtle plumage differences, habitat preferences, and geographical range (little overlap) aid separation from that species. Gregarious outside breeding season. Sexes are dissimilar.