|Conservation status||Local populations rise and fall. Reproduction may be poor in dry years. Moderate grazing may improve habitat for this species, but overgrazing degrades habitat.|
|Family||New World Quail|
|Habitat||Grasslands, brush, arid country. Prime habitat is flat open country or rolling hills, supporting a mix of grasses with annual weeds, with scattered shrubs for additional cover and shade. Also found where grassland grades into other open habitat types such as desert, juniper slopes, dry brush.|
Forages in coveys at most seasons, in pairs or singly during early part of breeding season.
Usually about 12, sometimes 5-16 or more. Whitish, speckled with light brown. Incubation is mostly by female, rarely by male, about 22-23 days. Young: Leave nest shortly after hatching. Both parents tend young, with male often standing guard on higher perch while female and young feed on the ground. Young feed themselves. Development of young and age at first flight not well known. One brood per year, rarely two.
Leave nest shortly after hatching. Both parents tend young, with male often standing guard on higher perch while female and young feed on the ground. Young feed themselves. Development of young and age at first flight not well known. One brood per year, rarely two.
Seeds, insects. Eats seeds of many annual and perennial weeds (such as snakeweed, Russian thistle, broomweed), seeds of woody plants (such as mesquite); seems to eat relatively few grass seeds, but perhaps more than some quail. Also feeds on green leaves, berries. Eats more insects than most quail, especially in spring and summer.
In breeding season, unmated males perch on tops of shrubs, rocks, or posts, and give hoarse single-noted call to defend territory and attract females. Nest site is on ground, usually well hidden under shrub, tumbleweed, cactus, or other cover. Nest (probably built by female) is shallow depression lined with grass and leaves, with tuft of standing grass arched over it.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Permanent resident throughout its range.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for over 450 bird species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsCall is a low nasal pe-cos. Also harsh clucking calls.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Scaled Quail
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the Scaled Quail
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.