Large Land Birds, Pacific Northwest
The California Quail was brought to Vancouver island sometime between 1880 to 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 50’s 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 females head is mottled brown with a darker distinct eye stripe. they are about the size of a pigeon.
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 1990’s.