The Gambel's Quail is named after William Gambel (1821-1849), an American naturalist who studied animals, plants and trees. The birds scientific name "callipepla" comes from the Greek kalli (beautiful) and peplos (robe). This bird eats seeds from grasses, shrubs, trees and cacti as well as herbaceous material, fruits and berries. They are ground feeders and generally seek food in the morning and afternoon.
General: 10 to 11.5 inches in length.
Male: Gray body. Chestnut crown. Black forehead and face bordered with white. Black, foreward-curved, teardrop-shaped head plume. Rusty brown flanks with white diagonal streaks. Yellowish belly with black central blotch. Small, black bill. Pale legs and feet.
Female: Gray head, chest, back and upperwings. Pale belly. Smaller, black, foreward-curved, teardrop-shaped head plume. Rusty brown flanks with white diagonal streaks. Small, black bill.
Immature: Similar to females.
Desert thickets; arid country.
10-20 buff colored eggs with brown spots. The eggs have a 21-24 day incubation period. Fledging occurs in 10 days. The nest is a depression in the ground lined with grass and twigs.
- Anza Borrego Desert State Park