Desert quail, Arizona quail
Gambel's quail (Callipepla gambelii) is a small ground-dwelling bird in the New World quail family. It is named in honor of William Gambel, a 19th-century naturalist and explorer of the Southwestern United States. The species is not as widely introduced as the related California quail. It was, however, released on San Clemente Island in 1912 by Charles T. Howland et al., where it is currently still established.
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example, foliage, for the main component of its die...
Seed predation, often referred to as granivory, is a type of plant-animal interaction in which granivores (seed predators) feed on the seeds of pla...
Arboreal locomotion is the locomotion of animals in trees. In habitats in which trees are present, animals have evolved to move in them. Some anima...
Precocial species are those in which the young are relatively mature and mobile from the moment of birth or hatching. Precocial species are normall...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Oviparous animals are female animals that lay their eggs, with little or no other embryonic development within the mother. This is the reproductive...
Gliding flight is heavier-than-air flight without the use of thrust and is employed by gliding animals. Birds in particular use gliding flight to m...
Monogamy is a form of relationship in which both the male and the female has only one partner. This pair may cohabitate in an area or territory for...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
These birds are easily recognized by their adorable 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. They have relatively short, rounded wings and long, featherless legs. Its diet consists primarily of plant matter and seeds.
Gambel's quail are found throughout the southwestern United States, primarily in Arizona. They are also found in Texas, California as well as southern Utah, Nevada, Colorado and also some parts of Mexico. Gambel’s quail inhabit brushy areas along river valleys, chaparral, and oak woodlands of high desert settings. These birds live in a wide variety of deserts such as low warm deserts with mesquite, upland warm deserts with Acacia, yuccas, and cactus as well as cool deserts with sagebrush.
Gambel’s quail are diurnal animals. On the sunset, they find a suitable place to roost in groups. They prefer safe areas with dense cover such as shrubs or trees in order to protect themselves against predators and cold winds. These birds are social with a unique social system. They mate during the spring months meanwhile being aggressive towards other couples. By the end of the breeding season, they regroup, forming coveys - flocks that may contain up to 25 individuals depending on climatic conditions. During the time of living in coveys, they become very calm, showing highly social behavior and foraging together for food.
Gambel’s quail are mainly herbivores (granivores, frugivores) and eat seeds of various grasses, shrubs, cactus, berries, cactus fruit, and prickly pear. They also supplement their diet with insects, especially in spring and during the nesting season. Chicks eat only grasshoppers, small worms, beetles, and moth caterpillars.
These birds are monogamous, mating once in a breeding season, though there have been known cases of a female, leaving its mate and chicks for another male. During the breeding season, which lasts from April to July, male quails try to attract females, using various methods. Female has to build the nest, which is a simple spot on the ground, usually covered by rocks and plants. When the nesting site is chosen, she defines it with grass, sticks, and leaves. Then she lays 12 eggs at a brood. The eggs are incubated for 20-24 days. Young are able to move as soon as they are hatched out. The chicks learn how to forage and find food, observing their parents. Reproductive maturity is reached at 1-year-old with male quail, becoming mature a few weeks earlier than females.
One of the notable threats to this bird is the degradation of its habitat due to urban development. On the other hand, the chicks are threatened by rising temperatures within their range, which is a result of pollution and global warming. Another threat is predators - both aerial and terrestrial. In addition, cattle grazing in the area of their habitat is among other concerns to this species’ population.
Although the exact number of their population is presently unknown, this widespread species is not endangered and is classified on the IUCN Red List as Least Concern (LC).
These birds play important role in the ecosystem. Feeding upon various plants, Gambel's quail disperse seeds of these plant species. They are also an important source of food for predators of their range.