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Breeding Birds: California Quail

May 04, 1990|Clipboard researched by Janice L. Jones / Los Angeles Times; Graphics by Doris Shields / Los Angeles Times

CALIFORNIA QUAIL

(Callipepla gambelii)

Description: Most notable feature is its tear-drop shaped plume or double plume. Is brown and gray above with brown sides and scaled underparts. Males have paler forehead, black throat and brown patch on underbelly.

Habitat: Brushy and cultivated areas in suburbs; chaparral and open woodlands. Very gregarious, often assembled in large coveys.

Diet: Foliage, acorns, fruit, insects, snails.

Displays: During courtship, male bows, fluffs feathers, droops wings and rushes toward female with tail spread.

Nest: Makes a shallow depression lined with dead leaves and grass. Is usually concealed in taller grasses or shrubs. Occasionally constructed above ground in bushes or trees.

Eggs: White or creamy, marked with brown.

Call: A three-note chi-ca-go sound.

Breeding bird atlas: To report bird breeding activity in your neighborhood, or to get information on the breeding bird atlas, call Sea and Sage Audubon Society members Sylvia Gallagher, (714) 962-8990, or Nancy Kenyon, (714) 786-3160.

Note: Map is divided into 5-kilometer squares so that Audubon Society volunteers can more easily survey areas on a regular basis.

Sources: Sea and Sage Audubon Society; "The Birder's Handbook," Ehrlich, Dobkin and Wheye, Fireside Books (1988); "Field Guide to the Birds of North America," National Geographic Society (1987); "Birds of Southern California: Status and Distribution," Garrett and Dunn, Los Angeles Audubon Society (1981).

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