Callipepla Squamata – Scaled Quail

Callipepla Squamata - Scaled Quail

The scaled quail, Callipepla Squamata, sometimes known as the blue quail or cottontop, is a member of the quail family native to the New World. It is a bluish gray bird that is found in arid locations ranging from the southwestern United States to Central Mexico. This species is a Pliocene branch of the genus Callipepla.

Quick Overview: Callipepla Squamata – Scaled Quail
Body size: Around 10-12 in (25-30 cm) and a weight of 190 g (6.7 oz)
Main colors: Blue-gray, White, Gray-brown, Black, Brown
Range: Eastern United States
Migratory Bird: No
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: All Year (January – December)
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Scaled Quail Description

Scaled quail has a blue-gray scaly aspect to its breast and neck plumage with a buff-white crest; youngsters are grayish brown above with black and brown spots and buff-colored bottom with brown bars and white spots; males and females are similar.

Callipepla Squamata - Scaled Quail
Callipepla Squamata – Scaled Quail. Photo by: Greg Schechter


These birds have a length of 10-12 in (25-30 cm) and a weight of 190 g (6.7 oz). Their wings could range from 14 in (36 cm).


Scaled quail eat a greater proportion of grass seeds than other quail species. Additionally, leaves, fruits, and insects are nutritional components. Summer diets are mostly composed of green plants and insects, both of which are vital providers of moisture.


It is a kind of desert environment that is found exclusively in the area where Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma meet, as well as in northwestern New Mexico. It is the lightest subspecies, having evolved to arid, sandy habitats.


As is the case with the majority of quail, this is a sociable game bird that forms huge winter coveys and typically runs rather than flies away from predators. Apart from insects and leaves, it feeds on seeds from a diverse range of forbs, grasses, and shrubs. Scaled Quail numbers fluctuate seasonally.

Callipepla Squamata Scientific Classification

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

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 Scaled Quail in the USA

Throughout New Mexico and western Texas, as well as areas of western Oklahoma, southwest Kansas, southeast Colorado, southeast Utah, and eastern Arizona, this species is found.

Callipepla Squamata – Scaled Quail

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