science education resource

For K-12 Students • Educators • Homeschool Families • Naturalists

Quail (Gambel's)

To view these resources with no ads please Login or Subscribe (and help support our site).

Callipepla gambelii
Quail (Gambel's)


They are found in the southwestern U. S. throughout Arizona with scattered populations spreading outward into regions of Texas, California, Utah, Colorado and Nevada and south into Mexico. They have been introduced to areas in Hawaii.


They live in desert areas that receive enough rainfall to have dense brushy cover and dry scrubby forests. They use the thorny vegetation of mesquite, desert hackberry, catclaw acacia and other desert shrubberies as protection from predators and for shade from the hot desert sun.

Body Traits

They are small, rounded birds about a foot long and weighing about 6.5 ounces. They have a black face and neck framed by a white border and a chestnut cap. An eye-catching black plume comes off the top of the head. They are grayish brown on top with rusty sides covered in small white spots. Their underside is lighter, but has a marked black patch on the belly. Females are much duller in color.


They are active during the day (diurnal) running along the ground to escape danger.  They can fly and use flight to reach tree roosts at night or cross rivers or roads, but they prefer to run. They travel in small family groups called a covey that are made up of the parents and their many young from that breeding season. They search the ground for food in the cool of the morning and afternoon and rest in the shady brush midday.


They eat seeds, leaves, fruits, berries and sometimes insects. They will feed on grain if they come across a farm field. They don’t need to drink water, but will if they find a source.


They are eaten by hawks, foxes, coyote, bobcats, snakes and man.

To view these resources with no ads, please Login or Subscribe (and help support our site).


Females lay up to 12 white eggs with brown spots in a nest made of grass, leaves and twigs and lined with their own soft feathers. Nests are hidden under shrubbery on the ground or under a rocky outcropping. If available, they may build the nest in a scrubby tree. Males will help warm (incubate) and protect the eggs and the new hatchlings. They take 3.5 weeks to hatch and very quickly are running along the ground feeding themselves.

Quail (Gambel's)


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Odontophoridae
Genus: Callipepla
Species: C. gambelii

Citing Research References

When you research information you must cite the reference. Citing for websites is different from citing from books, magazines and periodicals. The style of citing shown here is from the MLA Style Citations (Modern Language Association).

When citing a WEBSITE the general format is as follows.
Author Last Name, First Name(s). "Title: Subtitle of Part of Web Page, if appropriate." Title: Subtitle: Section of Page if appropriate. Sponsoring/Publishing Agency, If Given. Additional significant descriptive information. Date of Electronic Publication or other Date, such as Last Updated. Day Month Year of access < URL >.

Here is an example of citing this page:

Amsel, Sheri. "Quail (Gambel's)" Exploring Nature Educational Resource ©2005-2023. March 26, 2023
< > has more than 2,000 illustrated animals. Read about them, color them, label them, learn to draw them.