Six native species of quail are found in North America, and all of them benefit from the work of Quail Forever. Although similar in size, quail species throughout the United States differ greatly in preferred habitat conditions.
Bobwhite Quail: The most common species of quail, the bobwhite is often referred to as the number one game bird of the eastern and southern United States. The name "bobwhite" derives from its characteristic whistling call. Males have a white throat and brow stripe bordered by black compared to brown colored females.
California Quail: Also known as valley quail, California quail are the most popular of the five species of western quail. These birds have a curving crest or plume, made of six feathers, that droops forward: black in males and brown for females; the flanks are brown with white streaks.
Mountain Quail: The largest quail species found in the United States, Mountain quail possess a unique characteristic of two straight feathers that arch over the back. These birds are easily recognized by their top knots, which are shorter in the female. They have a brown face and heavily white-barred underside.
Gambel's Quail: Also known as desert quail, Gambel's quail are located in dry regions of the southwestern United States. Gambel's quail are easily recognized by their top knots and scaly plumage on their undersides. They have gray plumage on their bodies, and males have copper feathers on the top of their heads, black faces, and white stripes above their eyes.
Scaled Quail: Also known as blue quail, Scaled quail are known for their blue scaled appearance. Along with its scaly markings, the bird is easily identified by its white crest that resembles a tuft of cotton.
Mearn’s Quail: With the smallest range in the United States, the Mearn's quail is found in southern Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Mexico. They live in mountain areas populated with oak and juniper trees, as well as grasslands. Often referred to as Montezuma quail, they have a unique coloration of feathers which aids in their means of camoflauge.
Quail are birds that are typically found in small flocks, otherwise known as "coveys." In late spring and early summer, coveys begin to break up as pair bonds form between individual males and females prior to the breeding season. Quail spend most of their lives in a relatively small area, with groups of 8 to 25 birds common in a single covey. Flight speed of most quail is 30 to 40 mph.
Quail generally forage twice a day, in early morning and mid-to-late afternoon. Quail eat a wide variety of foods including insects, seeds, leaves, and berries. Young quail also feed very heavily on insects, gradually shifting to a greater proportion of seeds as they near adult size.
Weight: 5-10 ounces depending on the species
Length: 6-12 inches depending on the species
Flight Speed: 30-40 mph
Favorite Foods: Insects, waste grains, weed seeds, and berries
Preferred Habitat: Early successional habitat to brushy areas throughout the countryAverage Nest Initiation: Early summer
Length of Incubation: 23-25 days
Average First Hatch: End of June
Average Clutch Size: 7-28 depending on the species
Average Nest Success: 40-60%
Broods Per Year: 1-2; persistent renesters
Average Rate of Chick Survival: 40-50%
Major Nest Predators: Raccoon, opossum, snake, skunk
Major Adult Predators: Human, hawk, fox, owl
Rarely, if ever, does a quail die of old age. In fact, the average life span is less than 1 year. Quail are a prey species and face major sources of mortality beginning the day it is laid in the nest as an egg. On average, 70 percent to 80 percent of the nation's quail population is lost each year; this high mortality rate is off-set by large broods of wild quail.