Gambel’s Quail

Gambel’s Quail Callipepla gambelii

Type of Animal:

Deserts/semi-deserts (especially w/ brushy/thorny vegetation), shrubby desert/semi-desert, desert/semi-desert areas w/ low trees, cultivated communities, river valleys, desert/semi-desert mountain foothills (up to 5,400 ft), plains, scrub, creeks, washes, arroyos, springs, seeps, drainges, chaparral, irrigation ditches, brush-lined river channels, brushy fencelines edging irrigated fields, riparian areas, oak woodlands in high desert/semi-desert/mountains, canyons, dense saltbush/saltcedar/arrowwood/mesquite thickets, suburbs, desert/semi-desert streams, waterholes, scrubby desert/semi-desert, scrub forest, xeric shrubland, brushy riparian woodland, stock tanks w/ shrubs nearby, semi-desert/desert grassland (w or w/o scrub vegetation), agricultural field edges, mountainous areas adjacent to desert/semi-desert, pine forest

SE California, far S Nevada, S Utah, parts of S Colorado, W & S Arizona, New Mexico, far SW Texas, NW & far N Mexico. Introduced in Kahoolawe & Lanai islands in Hawaii, part of E Idaho, & San Clemente Island, California.

Male has bright rufous crest, black comma-shaped topknot, chestnut flanks striped w/ white, creamy belly w/ black patch, more colorful face, females grayer than males w/ lighter topknot, males almost have gray w/ hint of blue, both sexes plump w/ small bills/short necks/square tails

Seeds, leaves, grains, grasses, flowers, buds, shoots, cacti, berries, fruits, herbacerous plants, bindweed, nuts, insects, small worms, spiders

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos

Groups called coveys range from 8-25 birds

Additional Info:

Male: Cock
Female: Hen
Young: Chick
Group: Covey
Male: 6-7 oz
Female: 5.6-6 oz

3 weeks 

Life Span:
1.5 years in wild, 3-4 years in captivity

Male: 12 in
Female: 11 in

Body Length:
Male: 12 in
Female: 11 in

Tail Length:
Male: 3.9 in
Female: 3.7 in

Main predators of adults are cats, bobcats, coyotes, raptors, snakes, bears, foxes, raccoons, opossums, gila monsters, pigs, skunks, & cotton rats. Ground squirrels & roadrunners eat chicks.
They spend most of their time on the ground
They’re non-migratory.
They’re active during the day (diurnal).
Sexually mature at 6 months old.
Usually feed twice a day.
Often lays 2 broods of 5-16 eggs a year.

Fun Fact(s):
Very similar-looking to California Quail, sometimes hybridizing w/ them in areas of range.
Named for American naturalist William Gambel.
Highly popular birds to hunt.
They rarely fly except to roost in low trees, preferring to run from danger. They can also remain motionless & rely on camouflage.
Gambel’s Quail, stock photo

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