Masked Bobwhite

Masked Bobwhite Colinus ridgwayi

Type of Animal:

Plains, savanna, desert/semidesert grassland, pastures, semiarid grassland, desert/semidesert scrub, subtropical/tropical grassland, farm fields, agricultural fields, farmland, thornscrub, grass-forb habitats along drainages, semidesert savanna, mesas, weedy bajios (lowland depressions), weedy bottomlands, grassy valleys, herb-strewn valleys, river valleys, areas w/ grass-weed cover, found as high as 4,000 ft

S Arizona, Mexican states of Sonora, Oaxaca, & Chiapas, parts of Guatemala

Males have cinnamon breast, black head/throat, varying amount of white above eye, brownish wings, females mottled-brown above, buff head, whitish breast, males darker than females, short plump birds, females drabber

Seeds, grains, forbs, plant matter, insects, leaves, buds, berries, roots, acorns, snails, spiders, ticks, legumes, fruit, flowers

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos & wildlife centers. Sutton Center founded in 1983 near Bartlesville, Oklahoma became involved in establishing breeding population in 1996 to reintroduce them to Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge on Arizona-Mexico border. Over 1,000 birds have been reintroduced. Doing better in Mexico than in US. Reintroductions in Sonora as well. Sometimes refuge-raised chicks returned to wild after being fostered by sterilized male Northern Bobwhites.

Coveys number 7-20 birds

Additional Info:

Male: Cock
Female: Hen
Young: Chick
Group: Covey

Male: 5.95 oz
Female: 5.74 oz

23 days 

Life Span:
2-3 years in wild, 7-9 years in captivity

Male: 10.5 in
Female: 8.5 in

Body Length:
Male: 10.5 in
Female: 8.5 in

Tail Length:
Male: 2.5 in
Female: 2 in

Main predators of adults are raptors, snakes, bobcats, cats, foxes, coyotes, procyonids, skunks, opossums, heloderm lizards, & pigs. Roadrunners eat chicks.
Endangered due to drought, livestock overgrazing, reduced plant diversity, habitat fragmentation, habitat degradation, lack of fire, spread of exotic grasses, & climate change.
Females lay clutches of 5-20 eggs, often producing up to 3 broods a year.
Utilize patches of vegetation to protect themselves from predators & high temperatures.
Chicks highly precocial, leaving nest on 1st day. Capable of 1st flight by 2 weeks. Gain adult plumage by 3 months.
Sexually mature at 6 months old.
Nests constructed on ground w/ bowl-shaped depressions in native grasses well-concealed & lined w/ dead grass.
Spend most of their time on the ground, only flying short distances.

Fun Fact(s):
Can go without food for quite a while due to being able to store food in crop.
Parents sometimes feign wing injuries to discourage predators.
Called Bobwhites due to courtship call of male.

2 thoughts on “Masked Bobwhite


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