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Scaled Quail - BirdForum Opus

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Callipepla squamata
Photo by Oldsquaw


10-12" (25-30 cm). A small stocky quail, gray-brown above, with buff-white crest. Bluish-gray feathers on breast and mantle have black semicircular edges, creating scaled effect; belly also has brown "scales." Sexes alike.


Resident in Arizona, Colorado, western Kansas, and western Oklahoma south to central Mexico.


Four subspecies



Though birds of arid habitat, Scaled Quail must visit water holes regularly. They nest in the rainy season, when moisture produces some vegetation, and do not breed during extremely dry summers. Their numbers fluctuate markedly from year to year, because the birds are sensitive to both drought and heavy rains. They spend most of the year in small flocks, breaking up into pairs at the beginning of the breeding season. Note the bushy white crest or "cotton top." A pale grayish quail ("Blue Quail") of arid country, with scaly markings on breast and back. Runs; often reluctant to fly.

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