10-11 1/2" (25-29 cm). Gray above and on breast; light belly with central black patch, bordered by dark, rusty flanks streaked with white. Black face and chin edged with white; white band across forehead, topped by lighter rusty crown and black plume. Immatures and females duller and lack belly patch.
Similar Species- California and Mountain Quails
A throaty, laughing, kha-kha-CAW.
Resident from east-central California, southern Nevada, southern Utah, western Colorado, and northwestern New Mexico, south to northeastern Baja California, portions of northern Mexico, and western Texas. Introduced in north-central Idaho.
Found in deserts (primarily with brushy or thorny growth such as mesquite, desert thorn, and yucca), but also in adjacent cultivated regions. Usually lives near water in river valleys or near streams. Ideal cover is composed of creek banks, willow thickets, brush piles, vines and brambles.
Feeds on seeds, green vegetaion, and some fruits.
Builds nest in depression on ground, frequently under vegetation. May occasionally nest in bush or tree. Forages on ground. Most active in morning and in late afternoon and evening. In fall, family groups form coveys of 12-24 or 40-50 birds; coveys break up by March.
Taylor, D.M. and C.H. Trost. 1987. The status of rare birds in Idaho. Murrelet 68:69-93.