MOUNTAIN QUAIL


Oreortyx pictus


Description:

Unique among the quail family, the Mountain Quail is the only member to seasonally migrate up and down the slopes of mountains. The move downslope in the winter to protected valleys. The Mountain Quail is the largest quail found in Northern America. More often heard than seen, this quail prefers areas with dense cover. They feed on seeds, fruits, flowers, and a few insects.


Appearance:

Gray head, neck, and breast. Olive-brown back and tail. Chestnut throat with white border. Chestnut flanks with thick white bars. Long, straight, black head plume. Small, black bill. Pale legs. Sexes similar. 10.5 to 11.5 inches in length.


Habitat:

Brushy wooded areas and chaparral in mountains.


Nesting:

8-12 light reddish eggs with brown blotches. The eggs have a 21-24 day incubation period. Fledging occurs in ? days. The nest is a ground depression lined with dry grass and leaves. The nest is typically hidden among protective rocks, logs, or thick vegetation.


Observed Locations:

  • The Robinson's Cabin, Palomar Mountain
  • Mt. Laguna





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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.