American Game Birds

Illustrating More Than One Hundred Species In Natural Colors

By Chester A. Reed

Page 47

MOUNTAIN QUAIL (Oreortyx picta pitta). This, the largest of the quail, measuring 11 in. in length, is an abundant species in certain portions of Washington, Oregon and California. It is found in humid regions, while the very similar race, known as Plumed Quail, inhabits arid regions of the same states. The former has the upper parts slightly browner than the latter, a distinction that interests ornithologists but is of no consequence among sportsmen. During the hunting season they go about in small flocks. They are difficult to put up with a dog, for they are very fleet of foot and trust to their legs rather than to their wings whenever possible. If they are flushed, they separate and do not flock together again for some time, so that it is necessary to hunt them out one by one. This is very different from the actions of Bobwhite under similar circumstances, for within a few minutes they will commence calling and soon the remnant of the flock will have been united. The flesh of this species is regarded as excellent, in fact almost as good as that of the eastern quail.

     The call of the male is a short hoarse crow, similar to that of a young bantam rooster. The female is plumaged quite like the male, but differs in having much shorter plumes. Their eight or ten eggs, which are laid in a grass-lined depression under a bush or log, are rather bright creamy-buff with no markings, or very faint ones.


SCALED QUAIL (Callipepla squamata squamata). There are two races of this species, the present one, which is found in southern Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, and the Chestnut-bellied Scaled Quail, which is found in the Lower Sonoran zone of southern Texas. The latter variety is much like the former, except that the back is slightly browner, the under parts more buffy and the male has a patch of chestnut on the belly. They inhabit the chaparral and mesquite in dry washes and foothills and, like most western species, trust to their legs chiefly to take them away from danger. Commonly called "Blue Quail."