Callipepla Californica – California Quail

Callipepla Californica - California Quail found in the US

It’s a ground-dwelling New World quail, called the California quail, Callipepla californica. Males have a dark brown cap, a black face, a brown back, grey-blue breasts, Females and youngsters have a pale belly. Its closest relative, the Gambel’s quail, has a longer (2.5 in) and brighter head. During the Pliocene or Pleistocene, the two species diverged 1–2 million years ago.

Quick Overview: Callipepla Californica – California Quail
Body size: Around 10 in (25 cm) and a weight of 176 g (6.2 oz)
Main colors: Blue-gray, Brown, Gray, Black
Range: Pacific Coast Region of the United States
Migratory Bird: No
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: All Year (January – December)
Conservation Status: Least Concern

California Quail Description

Aside from the scaled underparts, the California quail’s face is patterned in black and white. Blue-gray and brown colors. Chestnut crown with side streaks In California quail, sexes differ. Women have a grayish throat with black streaks. The brow plume of California quail is formed like a teardrop. California quail eggs are gray and dark in color, giving them a mysterious look.

Callipepla Californica - California Quail found in the US
Callipepla Californica – California Quail. Photo by: Becky Matsubara


These birds have a length of 10 in (25 cm) and a weight of 176 g (6.2 oz). Their wings could range from 14-16 in (36-41 cm).


California quail are most frequently found on the United States’ west coast. California quail love broad forests, densely forested hillsides, stream-fed valleys, and suburbia. Additionally, they may dwell in brushland and agricultural land.


California quail eat mostly seeds from broad-leaved plants such as Lupinus, Lotus, Erodium, Trifolium, Medicago, and Amsinckia on a regular basis. They will also consume fruits, berries, and insects if they are accessible.


California Quail migrate in coveys in the fall. They might be as little as 25 birds or as large as 1000 birds. In the spring, males defend territories and mates, dissolving coveys. California quail prepare their scrapes in a hidden area. They lay eggs near the male and hatch them. For the time being, these familial groupings avoid confrontation.

Callipepla californica Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Galliformes
  • Family: Odontophoridae
  • Genus: Callipepla
  • Species: Callipepla californica

Best time of the year to see

In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds is all year round, regardless of the season. This refers to any month of the year between January and December.

Distribution of the California quail in the USA

Originally found from southern Oregon to Baja California, this species has now been introduced to the Pacific Northwest, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.

Callipepla Californica – California Quail

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