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California Quail - BirdForum Opus

Male, nominate subspecies
Photo © by digishooter
Wofford Hts., Kern Co., California, USA, December 2006
Callipepla californica


Female, subspecies C. c. brunnescens
Photo © by blubird
Las Gallinas ponds, San Rafael, California, 18 October 2011

150.6 g to 189.5 g (5 - 7 oz.) 25 cm (9.8 in) Males slightly heavier

  • Mainly blue-grey and brown plumage
  • Distinctive black and white face pattern
  • Black and brown feather tips on belly giving a scaly appearance
  • Chestnut crown
  • Streaked flanks
  • Black bill
  • Grey legs

Sexes are dimorphic
Males have a black throat; females a greyish throat with black streaks

  • Prominent teardrop-shaped plume or a double plume coming off its forehead

Immature: mostly greys and browns which gives it a cryptic look


Western North America from extreme southwest British Columbia south through Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and California to Baja California, Mexico. Introduced populations are found in Hawaii and New Zealand.


Sometimes placed in genus Lophortyx.


Photo © by ducbucln
Kelseyville, California, 1 July 2016

Eight subspecies are recognized[1]:


Dense vegetation near water at low altitudes.

Replaced in montane forest by the Mountain Quail and in desert by the Gambel's Quail.



The diet includes seeds, leaves, berries and insects.


The nest is a shallow scrape lined with vegetation. The clutch consists of up to 12 eggs.


Common crowing call is a loud "Chi-CA-go." Also sharp, clucking, clicking and spluttering notes.


Sedentary; maximum movements under 27 km. Dispersal rates increase in response to habitat destruction.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Quaglia della California Callipepla californica
  3. Wikipedia contributors. (2020, April 6). California quail. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 08:18, April 29, 2020 from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=California_quail&oldid=949376865
  4. Calkins, J. D., J. M. Gee, J. C. Hagelin, and D. F. Lott (2020). California Quail (Callipepla californica), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.calqua.01
  5. Carroll, J.P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). California Quail (Callipepla californica). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/53343 on 29 April 2020).

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.