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Merlin Bird ID

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    California Quail

    ID Info
    Silhouette Game BirdsGame Birds

    California Quail

    Callipepla californica
    • ORDER: Galliformes
    • FAMILY: Odontophoridae
    Basic Description

    The California Quail is a handsome, round soccer ball of a bird with a rich gray breast, intricately scaled underparts, and a curious, forward-drooping head plume. Its stiffly accented Chi-ca-go call is a common sound of the chaparral and other brushy areas of California and the Northwest. Often seen scratching at the ground in large groups or dashing forward on blurred legs, California Quail are common but unobtrusive. They flush to cover if scared, so approach them gently.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for California QuailRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    Find This Bird

    Look for this bird in dry, patchy, low vegetation, and listen for the prominent Chi-ca-go call. These birds may forage calmly quite close to you, but will flush to cover if you startle them.

    Other Names
    • Codorniz Californiana (Spanish)
    • Colin de Californie (French)

    Backyard Tips

    You can attract California Quail to your yard by sprinkling grain or birdseed on the ground and providing dense shrubbery nearby for cover. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

    • Cool Facts