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California Quail

California State Bird

California valley quail; photo © Doug Schonewald: Doug's Pics (used by permission).

Official State Bird of California

California designated the California quail (Callipepla Californicus) as official state bird in 1931. All State Birds

Known for their hardiness and adaptability, the native California quail is a plump bird, smaller than a pigeon, with a distinctive black plume on its head and a black bib with a white stripe under its beak.  It spends most of its time on the ground but will launch into a short but explosive flight when disturbed.  

For much of the year, the California quail lives in social groups called coveys.  Coveys number from a few up to 200 in the fall and winter months, but in the spring they break into pairs. California quail nest in hollows scratched in the ground and concealed by foliage, females lay 6 to 28 eggs - creamy white thickly spotted with golden brown.

Other common names: California partridge, Catalina quail, topknot quail and valley quail.