World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Gambel's quail

Article Id: WHEBN0002781066
Reproduction Date:

Title: Gambel's quail  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Callipepla, List of bird species introduced to the Hawaiian Islands, Game birds, Quails, William Gambel
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Gambel's quail

Gambel's quail
Male Gambel's Quail in Joshua Tree National Park
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Odontophoridae
Genus: Callipepla
Species: C. gambelii
Binomial name
Callipepla gambelii
Gambel, 1843

The Gambel's quail (Callipepla gambelii) is a small ground-dwelling bird in the New World quail family. It inhabits the desert regions of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Texas, and Sonora; also New Mexico-border Chihuahua and the Colorado River region of Baja California. The Gambel's quail is named in honor of William Gambel, a 19th-century naturalist and explorer of the Southwestern United States.


  • Description 1
  • Taxonomy 2
    • Subspecies 2.1
  • Behavior 3
  • Relationship with humans 4
  • Gallery 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The Callipepla gambelii birds are easily recognized by their top knots and scaly plumage on their undersides. Gambel's quail have bluish-gray plumage on much of their bodies, and males have copper feathers on the top of their heads, black faces, and white stripes above their eyes. The bird's average length is 11 in (28 cm) with a wingspan of 14–16 in (36–41 cm). These birds have relatively short, rounded wings and long, featherless legs. Its diet consists primarily of plant matter and seeds.

Gambel's quail can be commonly confused with California quail due to similar plumage. They can usually be distinguished by range, but when this does not suffice, California quail have a more scaly appearance and the black patch on the lower breast of the male Gambel's quail is absent in the California quail. The two species are sister taxa which diverged during the Late Pliocene or Early Pleistocene, 1 to 2 mya.[2]



There are two recognized subspecies:[3]

Juvenile in Arizona


Gambel's quail primarily move about by walking and can move surprisingly fast through brush and undergrowth. They are a non-migratory species and are rarely seen in flight. Any flight is usually short and explosive, with many rapid wingbeats, followed by a slow glide to the ground. In the late summer, fall, and winter, the adults and immature young congregate into coveys of many birds. In the spring, Gambel's quail pair off for mating and become very aggressive toward other pairs. The chicks are decidedly more insectivorous than adults, gradually consuming more plant matter as they mature. Gambel's quail are monogamous and rarely breed in colonies. The female typically lays 10–12 eggs in a simple scrape concealed in vegetation, often at the base of a rock or tree. Incubation lasts from 21–23 days, usually performed by the female and rarely by the male. The chicks are precocial, leaving the nest with their parents within hours of hatching.[4]

Relationship with humans

There is an annual hunt for this bird in some places. The hunting season usually lasts from October to February.



  1. ^  
  2. ^ Zink, Robert M. & Blackwell, Rachelle C. (1998). )"Callipepla"Molecular systematics of the Scaled Quail complex (genus (PDF).  
  3. ^ "Callipepla gambelii".  
  4. ^ Thomson, M. (2001): Callipepla gambelii. Animal Diversity Web. Accessed September 26, 2006

External links

  • Gambel's Quail videos at Tree of Life
  • Gambel's Quail videos, photos, and sounds at the Internet Bird Collection
  • Stamps (for Mexico, United States) with Range Map at
  • Gambel's Quail photo gallery at VIREO (Drexel University)
  • Callipepla gambeliiInteractive range map of at IUCN Red List maps
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.