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)

Explore our State Symbols

  • State Amphibian - Red Legged Frog
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Amphibian - Reg Legged Frog
    California red-legged frogs are an endangered species due to the loss of habitat, invasive species, and water pollution.
  • State Animal
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Animal - California Grizzly Bear
    The loss of habitat and over-hunting by a rapidly growing human population led to their complete extinction by the 1920s.
  • State Bird - California Valley Quail
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Bird - California Valley Quail
    California Valley Quail live from Canada to Mexico and from the Pacific coast to Utah.
  • State Colors - Blue and Gold
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Colors - Blue and Gold
    Blue and gold have long been associated with California.
  • Read More
    State Symbols
    Dance - West Coast Swing
    The emergence of West Coast Swing dancing is a California story, rooted in the Lindy Hop of the 1930s and the later Jitterbug.
  • State Dinosaur
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Dinosaur - Augustynolophus Morrisi
    The first was discovered in 1939 in Fresno County.
  • State Fabric - Denim
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Fabric - Denim
    The origins of denim, the State Fabric, are found in the tough fabric itself and the history of Gold Rush California.
  • Fife and Drum Band
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Fife and Drum Band - California Consolidated Drum Band
    Fifes and drums came to America from Western Europe and can be heard for long distances.
  • State Flag
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Flag
    The California State Flag, also known unofficially as the “Bear Flag,” is the oldest unofficial State Symbol.
  • State Flower - Golden Poppy
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Flower - California Golden Poppy
    The California golden poppy is bright orange with blue-green, fern-like leaves and grows in bushy clumps up to 2 feet tall and wide.
  • State Folk Dance
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Folk Dance - Square Dance
    State Folk Dance Square Dance California is not alone when it comes to its official folk dance. The square dance, performed by couples, has to be by far the most popular state dance form there is. Nearly...
  • State Fossil - Saber-Toothed Tiger
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Fossil - Saber-Toothed Tiger
    These cats roamed California during the Late Pleistocene, eventually going extinct approximately 10,000 years ago.
  • Fish - Golden Trout
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Freshwater Fish - California Golden Trout
    The California golden trout, is native to California’s southern Sierra Nevada Mountains.
  • State Gemstone - Benitoite
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Gemstone - Benitoite
    Along with a state mineral (gold) and state rock (serpentine)California has a state gemstone, benitoite. This rare gemstone is also known as the “blue diamond” because of its deep shades of transparent blue color. One...
  • Gold Ghost Town
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Gold Rush Ghost Town - Bodie
    Bodie was named after W. S. Body (or Bodey), who was first credited with discovering gold in Bodie in 1859.
  • State Grass - Purple Needlegrass
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Grass - Purple Needlegrass
    Purple needlegrass helps the survival of young oak trees and provides food for over 330 species.
  • Historical Society
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Historical Society
    The California Historical Society (CHS) has existed since 1871.
  • State Insect - CA Dogface Butterfly
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Insect - California Dogface Butterfly
    This bright yellow, orange and black butterfly can be found only in California.
  • LGTBQ Veteran Memorial
    Read More
    State Symbols
    LGBTQ Veterans Memorial
    State LGBTQ Veterans Memorial The California LGBTQ Veterans Memorial is the first official veterans memorial of its type to be dedicated in the United States. The California Legislature passed legislation creating the memorial in 2018. It...
  • Lace Lichen
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Lichen - Lace Lichen
    Lace lichens hang in clumps from tree bark and branches, grow up to 3 feet long, are flat, yellow-green and shaped like lace.
  • State Marine Fish - Garibaldi
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Marine Fish - Garibaldi
    The garibaldi is a brilliant orange fish that lives in the Pacific Ocean from Monterey Bay south to Baja California.
  • State Marine Mammal - CA Gray Whale
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Marine Mammal - California Gray Whale
    California gray whales are amazing travelers, migrating 14,000 miles a year.
  • State Marine Reptile - Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Marine Reptile - Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle
    Pacific leatherback sea turtles are the largest turtles and one of the largest living reptiles in the world.
  • Military Museum
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Military Museum
    State Military Museum In 1981, the California Legislature authorized the California National Guard to establish the California State Military Museum and Resource Center. It was then designated the California Citizen-Soldier Museum in 1983. By the time...
  • State Mineral - Gold
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Mineral - Gold
    Gold is the precious metal that made the state of California. Since its first discovery in the 1820s, no other mineral has had a greater impact on the course of the state's history than gold.
  • Motto - Eureka
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Motto - Eureka
    Eureka means “I have found it!”
  • State Nickname - Golden State
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Nickname - Golden State
    Golden State became the official State Nickname in 1968.
  • State Nuts - Almond, Walnut, Pistachio, Pecan
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Nuts: Almond, Walnut, Pistachio, Pecan
    Despite official recognition as State Nuts, these four are not technically nuts.
  • Prehistoric Artifact
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Prehistoric Artifact
    California is the only state to have a State Prehistoric Artifact.
  • State Quarter
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Quarter
    The quarter shows a scene with naturalist John Muir gazing on Yosemite with a California condor overhead
  • State Reptile - Desert Tortoise
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Reptile - Desert Tortoise
    The desert tortoise can live 45-100 years.
  • State Rock - Serpentine
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Rock - Serpentine
    Since 1965, serpentine has been the State Rock.
  • State Seal
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Seal
    The Great Seal of the State of California was designed and approved at the 1849 Monterey Constitutional Convention.
  • Silver Ghost Town - Calico
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Silver Rush Ghost Town - Calico
    The old town was restored and became part of the 480-acre San Bernardino County Regional Park in 1966
  • State Soil - San Joaquin soil
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Soil - San Joaquin
    These well-drained deposited soils make for very productive agricultural lands.
  • I love you California Songsheet
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Song - “I Love You, California”
    Songwriter F. B. Silverwood and composer A. F. Frankenstein, both of Los Angeles, wrote the song in 1913.
  • Read More
    State Symbols
    Sport - Surfing
    State Sport Surfing Surfing, the ancient sport of riding a surfboard in a forward face of an ocean wave, originated in the Pacific Islands.  Surfing was first introduced to the United States from Hawaii during the 19th...
  • State Tall Ship - Californian
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Tall Ship - Californian
    State Tall Ship Californian The State Tall ship is the topsail schooner, Californian. The 145-foot-long, 2-mast, 9-sail vessel carries 7,000 square feet of canvas. The 130-ton, wooden vessel was launched by the Nautical Heritage Society in 1984....
  • State Tartan
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Tartan
    It is based on the tartan of the family of the noted Scottish naturalist John Muir.
  • State Theater - Pasadena Playhouse
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Theater - Pasadena Playhouse
    The Pasadena Playhouse began life as a small community theater in 1916.
  • State Tree - California Redwood
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Tree - California Redwood
    There are two related native species of redwood trees, the Coast Redwood and giant Sequoia, which share the designation of State Tree.
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
    Read More
    State Symbols
    Vietnam Veterans Memorial
    This memorial is located in the California State Capitol Park.