California Quail

California Quail, Vancouver Island, BC
California Quail, Vancouver Island, BC

The California Quail was brought to Vancouver Island sometime between 1880 and 1890 and their numbers began to increase right away. For the next 70 years, their numbers increased until you could see them everywhere. But then during the ’50s, their numbers began to decrease. I would assume that this would be a direct result of habitat loss.  Today, they can still be found in open tracts of land surrounded by bush, but they are not very common. These beautiful small birds have blueish upper parts and brown wings. the under coloration on the belly looks almost scale-like. Both sexes have the common black feathers on the head that all quails have, this is more pronounced in the males.  Males have a black head with white stripes and the female’s head is mottled brown with a darker distinct eye stripe. they are about the size of a pigeon.

California Quail, Vancouver Island, BC
California Quail, Vancouver Island, BC

They nest on the ground in thick vegetation. The nest is built from grasses, leaves, and rootlets. From the time the eggs are laid to the fledglings take flight is about a month. In the fall, several family groups will gather together in what is commonly called a covey.

There was also a release of mountain quail, and they could be seen at higher elevations, but there has not been a sighting since the 1990s.

Would you buy us a coffee?

6 thoughts on “California Quail”

  1. There is a small flock (8-10) that live under our deck and catch the seeds the birds drop from our feeders. Funny little guys!

  2. I live in Saseenos(Sooke), and we get anywhere from 30 – 100 Quail in our yard every day! They wreck the lawn, but we don’t care because we LOVE them!

  3. We live in Whiskey Creek (Qualicum Beach area) and have 4 california quail in our yard daily.

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