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Scaled Quail Callipepla squamata


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Scaled Quail
credit: Gary Kramer, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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

Description ADULT Has a grayish lilac neck and breast, with dark feather margins that create a scaly appearance. Note pale streaks on flanks and buff belly, variably flushed with chestnut according to subspecies; this forms a distinct dark patch in castanogastris from southern Texas. Head is buffy, with chestnut brown ear coverts and subterminal band on pale-tipped crest feathers. Back and wings are plain buffy brown. JUVENILE Similar to adult, but with streaks on back and almost unmarked crest.

Dimensions Length: 10-12" (25-30 cm)

Habitat Locally fairly common in arid grassland, but has declined markedly in recent decades, due to habitat loss and degradation, and hunting.

Observation Tips Look for coveys in the winter, particularly in the vicinity of waterholes.

Range Texas, Northwest, Plains, Rocky Mountains, Southwest

Voice Utters a chip-cherr contact call.

Discussion Plump-bodied quail with scaly-looking neck and breast, and a distinct, pale-tipped crest. Hard to flush, preferring to run from danger rather than fly. Gregarious outside breeding season, forming coveys often numbering several dozen birds. Feeds on seeds, shoots, and invertebrates. Sexes are similar.