California Quail

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Large Land Birds, Pacific Northwest

California Quail, Birds, Pacific Northwest
California Quail, Photo By Bud Logan

 

The California Quail was first introduced to Vancouver island in the late 1880’s and right from the start, their numbers began to increase. For the next 70 years they prospered and you could see them everywhere. But sometime in the 1950’s their numbers began to fall. One must 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 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 females head is mottled brown with a darker distinct eye stripe. they are about the size of a pigeon.

California Quail, Birds, Pacific Northwest
California Quail, Photo By Bud Logan

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.

The mountain Quail was introduced around the same time but there has been no sightings since the 1990s.