9-11" (23-28 cm). Adult males bluish-gray above, with scaled belly and rusty or brownish sides streaked with white; black forward-curving plume arises from chestnut crown; black face and throat outlined in white; white eyebrow. Females more brown than gray; buff scaling on belly and diagonal streaking on flanks; short dark plume.
Similar Species- Gambel's and Mountain Quails
A three syllabled Chi-ca'-go.
Resident from southern Oregon and western Nevada, south to southern Baja California. Apparently introduced into southern British Columbia, Washington, Idaho, northern Oregon, and Utah.
Primarily vegetarian. Eats leaves, seeds (e.g., clovers, lupines, grasses, grains), acorns, and berries. In spring, also eats tips of grasses and buds, as well as spiders, snails, and insects (e.g., grasshoppers, ants, beetles).
Usually nests on ground in shallow depression lined with vegetation. Sometimes nests above ground in fork of tree branch. Active during day, feeding mainly 1-2 hr after sunrise, and 1-2 hr before sunset. Highly gregarious, especially in fall and winter. In fall, family groups form coveys of 10- 200 birds, which usually disband by late April. Predators include hawks, owls, snakes, and coyotes.
Breeding begins in January (southern range), and ends in mid-May (north). Female incubates 12-17 eggs (sometimes 6-18), for 21-23 days. precocial, downy nestlings are active soon after hatching, and are tended by both parents.
No references are available at this time.