Texas Quail Youth Page

Male Northern Bobwhite in Texas

Male Northern Bobwhite in Texas

Northern Bobwhite

Scientific Name: Calinus virginianus

Who’s Who?: Males are called cocks, females are called hens, and babies are called chicks. A group of quail is known as a covey (between 6-25 quail) and a clutch is a nest of eggs.

Common Name: Bobwhite

Color: Brown, black and white. Males have a white stripe along their eyes and throat while females have a brown stripe. Both display a crest on top of their heads.

Vocalizations: Northern bobwhites have distinct calls to communicate with other quail in their covey. Calls can be used to attract a mate, to sound an alarm when predators are around, or to regroup a scattered covey.

Habitat: Bare ground for food, Herbaceous (plant) cover for nesting, Woody cover (trees) for shade and protection from predators.

Diet: Seeds from plants and grasses, insects (grasshoppers, ants, termites), fruit from cacti, nuts and leaves.

Clutch:On average 12-13 eggs that are white and oval shaped, like a guitar pick. They are slightly larger than a silver dollar.

Predator: Mammalian (coyotes, racoons, skunks, snakes), Avian (hawks, northern harrier, owls).

Where can I see one?: Throughout the 10 ecoregions of Texas, with minor populations occurring in the Trans-Pecos.

A pair of Scaled quail in West Texas.

A pair of Scaled quail in West Texas.

Scaled Quail

Scientific Name: Callipepla squamata

Common Name: Blue or Cotton Top Quail

Color: Scaled quail are bluish-gray in color with a “scaled” feather pattern on a patch of their breast. Males have cream colored throats while females have a brownish colored throat.

Vocalizations: During the breeding season, males make a “Cree” or “Squawk” sound. The gathering call is the most frequently heard sound and is used to locate other quail, denoted by a “chip-churr, chip-churr” noise.

Habitat: They prefer a more upland habitat with scattered shrubs and open patches of ground.

Diet: Scaled quail consume insects (beetles, grasshoppers), seeds and green vegetation (leaves, grasses, succulent plants).

Clutch: Estimated around 13 eggs that are slightly larger than a bobwhite’s eggs.

Predator: Raccoons, snakes, coyotes and feral hogs are just a few of quail and quail nest predators.

Where can I see one?: This quail species occupy six eco-regions of Texas including the Trans-Pecos, Mountains and Basins, High Plains, Rolling Plains, Edwards Plateau and the South Texas Plains. They prefer a drier environment where rainfall is limited.

A pair of Gambel's quail in Texas.

A pair of Gambel’s quail in Texas.

Gambel’s Quail

Scientific Name: Callipepla gambelii

Common Name: Gambel’s

Color: Prominent teardrop-shaped, black plume on their heads. Both male and female have grey breasts and upper parts with white-streaked, chestnut sides. Males have a black face and forehead as well.

Vocalizations: Most notable is a loud three note “ka-KAA-ka” to assemble or locate other quail. A “kow” or “whit” call is used to attract a mate.

Habitat: They prefer the desert scrublands, canyons and brushy open country.

Diet: Seeds from plants and shrubs, insects, fruit from cacti, nuts and leaves.

Clutch:Usually between 10-14 creamy colored eggs with brownish spots.

Predator: Eggs are prey to skunks, coyotes and snakes while chicks and adults are prey to hawks and bobcats.

Where can I see one?: Extremely dry parts of west Texas, but mostly in New Mexico and Arizona.

Montezuma Quail, Texas.

Montezuma Quail, Texas.

Montezuma Quail

Scientific Name: Cyrtonyx montezumae

Common Names: Mearns quail, crazy quail, harlequin quail, codorniz pinta, black quail, painted quail, fool’s quail, and Massena.

Basic terms: A group of quail is a covey; the males are known as cocks, the females are hens, and the babies are chicks. A nest contains a clutch of eggs.

Color: The males have a black and white speckled appearance with a bold black and white “mask” on their face. Females are smaller and more drab, with brown being the dominant color.

Vocalization: Montezuma quail make several noises and calls to each other, including: to confuse predators, regroup with their covey, locate other nearby quail, or simply clucking while feeding.

Habitat: Usually woody areas in mountains; must have tall grass bunches for cover.

Diet: Mostly underground tubers and bulbs, plus seeds, acorns and insects.

Covey size: Usually around 6 individuals per covey.

Clutch size: Average of 11 eggs, which are white, semi-glossy, and just over an inch long.

Predator: Raptors, coyotes, and nest predators include snakes and skunks, among others.

Where can I see one? Trans-Pecos ecoregion of Texas.

Experiments for Youth

Scent Station

Scent Station YouTube Video

Scent Station Directions

Dummy Nest

Dummy Nest YouTube Video

Dummy Nest Directions

ssphoto Dummy Nest Photo Gallery


Submit your results to our Facebook page: WFSC Extension


Other Resources:

How Well Do You Know Quail? Take a Quiz

Crossword puzzle – print out

Crossword puzzle key

Make Your Own Animal Track Molds

Project Wild

Texas Parks and Wildlife Track Identification Guide and Quiz

Texas Parks and Wildlife Kids

Texas Wildlife Association: Quail

AgriLife Extension Youth Education Programs


Check 0ut these videos!

Citations –

Maps: Sauer, J. R., J. E. Hines, J. E. Fallon, K. L. Pardieck, D. J. Ziolkowski, Jr., and W. A. Link. 2012. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966 – 2011. Version 07.03.2013 USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD.

Dr. Dale Rollins and the  Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch, Roby, Texas.

ML Audio 105253. Montezuma Quail – Cyrtonyx montexumae. Geoffrey Keller. United State, Texas, Jeff Davis County, 4.0 km W of Fort Davis. 11 May 1993. Macaulay Library, www.macaulaylibrary.org. Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

ML Audio 45034. Scaled Quail – Callipepla squamata. Geoffrey Keller. United State, Texas, 5.0 km NW of Salineno; Falcon St. Recreational Area. 30 April 1986. Macaulay Library, www.macaulaylibrary.org. Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

ML Audio 118607. Gambel’s Quail – Callipepla gambelii. Geoffrey Keller. United State, Arizona, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. 12 April 2001. Macaulay Library, www.macaulaylibrary.org. Cornell Lab of Ornithology.



Back to top

Comments are closed.