California Valley Quail |California State Bird Facts

California Valley Quail

Overview :

State(s):  California

Key Facts

Life Span1 to 4 Years
FlightFlying Bird
Tastes LikeGamey red meat with fine texture and a sweet, nutty flavor.

Conservation Status

Least Concern
Conservation StatusLeast Concern


Game Birds


Weight140–230 g
Wing Span32–37 cm
Length24–27 cm

Taxonomic Serial Number 175876

Compared to the Average State Bird

How the California Valley Quail measures up:

  • Wing span: just about the average for a state bird (36cm).
  • Weight145g and 171% heavier than the average state bird’s weight (85g)
  • Length: is just about the average length of a state bird (27cm)

Scientific Classification

AnimaliaChordataAvesGalliformesOdontophoridaeCallipepla californica


Appearance Description

Male AppearancePlump and round with patterned white, tan, and brown scaled underbelly, rich blue-gray and brown chest, and black face outlined with white stripes. Distinct comma-shaped plume of feathers projecting forward from the forehead.
Female AppearancePlump and round with patterned white, tan, and brown scaled underbelly, plain brown chest, and no facial markings. Smaller comma-shaped plume of feathers projecting forward from the forehead. The female is less boldly colored than the male



DietWhile they mostly eat seeds, California Valley Quails are diet opportunists. They have been known to consume leaves, flowers, and some small invertibrate insects like caterpillars, beetles, mites, millipedes and snails. Approximately 70% of their diet is vegetarian.
Communication StylesThree-syllable call usually given when separated from its group or mate.
Migratory BehaviorNon-migratory

Range of Habitation


Best adapted to semi-arid environments, California Quails typically found between sea level (0 ft) and 4000 ft. While they can adapt to several habitats, the most common are coastal sagebrush, chaparral, foothills, high desert of California and the northwestern United States. Not particularly shy, it is also common to see the California Quail in backyards, especially if birdseed is available


snakes, raccoons, opossums, skunks, armadillos, rats, weasels, sqiurrels, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, gos, cats, hogs, turkeys, crows, jays, hawks, owls and ants.

Mating and Breeding

Breeding Overview

Breeding BehaviorMonogamous, but pairs with a new mate each year.
Breeding SeasonSpring
NestingShallow depression of stems and grasses at ground level, preferably near some vegetation or rocks for protection. 5-7 inches across and 1-2 inches deep.
Nesting and IncubationThe incubation period is 22-23 days. Quails lay up to 2 broods. A small percentage of the Quail population actually rears nests communally, which has shown to be a safer child-raising strategy.


ColorCream with variable brown speckling.
Clutch Size12 to 16 egg(s)

Chick description

Covered in brown down. Can walk, follow parents, and peck at the ground immediately after hatching. Chicks grow very quickly, capable of short flight at 2 weeks, completing juvenile plumage by 11 weeks, and adult plumage by 21-23 weeks.


Birding Facts

Interesting FactAlthough the topknot of the California Valley Quail looks like a single feather, it is actually a cluster of six overlapping plumes.
Best Season to ObserveSpring
Observation TipsTo attract California Valley Quail, try sprinkling grain or birdseed on ground near dense shrubbery.
Other NamesCalifornia Quail, Valley Quail


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