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Scaled Quail

ID Info
Silhouette Game BirdsGame Birds
Scaled QuailCallipepla squamata
  • ORDER: Galliformes
  • FAMILY: Odontophoridae

Basic Description

Groups of Scaled Quail scurry through the desert grasslands of the southwestern United States, calling softly to each other to stay in contact. These elegant brownish-gray birds have an understated crest with a buffy top and a marvelous pattern of dark brown and gray-buff on the breast and belly. When encountering people or predators, the birds dash away through the brush, or else fly a short distance and reassemble. In spring, males perch in the open on a bush or fence post, singing a short, hoarse whock note.

More ID Info
image of range map for Scaled Quail
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Look for Scaled Quail in sparsely vegetated grasslands with a few scattered shrubs and cacti. Driving or walking along a road or trail in the early morning or late afternoon should yield an observation of a pair or covey. Look quickly as most groups scurry away as soon as they are spotted (or even before). In spring, listen for singing males and then look for them perched in the open on a bush, fence post, or piece of farm equipment. Unmated males sing through the summer, which can be helpful for finding them late in the season.

Other Names

  • Colín Escamado (Spanish)
  • Colin écaillé (French)
  • Cool Facts