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Mountain Quail Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A round-bodied game bird with a small head, short tail, rounded wings, and short, strong legs. Two distinctive plumes stick up off the head like the feather of a quill pen, longest in adult males.

    Relative Size

    Slightly larger than a California Quail, smaller than a Gray Partridge.

    Relative Sizebetween robin and crowbetween robin and crow

    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 10.2-12.2 in (26-31 cm)
      • Weight: 7.4-9.2 oz (210-262 g)

Regional Differences

The five subspecies of Mountain Quail differ subtly in plumage tones. The two western/coastal subspecies (pictus, plumifer) are more richly colored and browner, whereas the three interior/desert subspecies (russelli, eremophilus, confinis) tend to be paler and grayer, probably an adaptation to the general background colors of their drier environment.