This fabulous looking quail is remarkable for its distinguishable markings, such as his black face, outlined with white stripes, and cap festooned with six feathered plumes that droop downward. His fllanks are chestnut, also with striping, contrasting with the lovely breast. The pale belly is scaled cream and white with slightly darker underparts.
The Female California Quail has similar markings as the male, but is, overall, a duller brown, and her plume is shorter.
The young quail looks like the female and its plume even shorter.
These birds forage on the ground all day and only fly on their short, broad wings when "flushed". Then their flight is "explosive" just long enough to seek cover.
As one would expect, the California Quail breeds and resides in that state and further northwest to British Columbia.
Calls or song.
The California Quail's social call is, "Chi-ca-go", but the warning signals are various "pips" and "squills".
Population and distribution.
Coveys of quail inhabit the scrubby areas of oak woodlands and forest foothills, but are also acclimated to people, so populate city parks, home gardens and agricultural environments.
Productivity depends upon environmental and meteorological conditions. Lack of rain or firestorms in the California foothills, as well as expanding human habitat affect California Quail numbers. In the best of years, the female will lay 12 eggs in a scrape in the ground, which is lined with vegetation and placed under a shrub. Sometimes she will have more than one clutch per season.