Bird of the Month - Quail

Gambel’s Quail are gregarious birds of the desert Southwest, where coveys gather along brushy washes and cactus-studded arroyos to feed.


  • Males and females both sport a bobbing black topknot of feathers, but the female lacks a rusty crest.The male’s prominent black belly patch distinguishes it from the similar California Quail.
  • This desert dweller would rather run than fly—look for these tubby birds running between cover or posting a lookout on low shrubs.

  • These fun birds eat mainly on the ground, but can fly up to seed cylinders and large seed cakes
  • They take dust baths in depressions in the ground
  • Forms coveys in the winter of up to 20 or more birds, which then split up into pairs during breeding season. Males fight over females.
  • They like to scratch like a chicken on the ground when feeding and will come to a shallow water dish on the ground.
  • These birds are non-migratory in the southwest area
  • Gambel's Quail nest on the ground and have 1 to 2 broods per year. The young are able to run right after hatching.