State Bird

California Valley Quail

Lophortyx californica

California Valley Quail live from Canada to Mexico and from the Pacific coast to Utah. They congregate in social groups of 30-300 except during breeding season when they form smaller groups. For protection, quail live in oak woodlands and dense brush, and eat weeds, grain, seeds, and insects. They have a distinctive call and make a loud, unusual noise when taking flight.

They are 10 inches long with a 14-inch wingspan. A distinctive plume of 6 interlocking black feathers extends out of the top of their head, accompanied by a wide variety of intricate feathers. The females are muted in color, providing feathered camouflage when nesting. They lay 12-16 creamy white eggs with dark spots and both the males and females care for the chicks. One of the males performs sentry duty while the flock collectively protects the young and feeds.

(Assembly Bill 776, Chapter 777, 1931)

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