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Discover the Official California State Bird and Where You Can See It


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The main state bird of California is the California valley quail (Callipepla californica; previously Lophortyx californica). This little, ground-dwelling bird, quickly acknowledged by the unique plume of plumes on its forehead, was declared the main state bird of California in 1931! While the bird is extensively dispersed throughout California, California valley quail choose environments such as meadows, chaparral, and oak forests that are more widespread in the Western part of the state. Its special look and intriguing habits make it a cherished sign of California’s wildlife. Keep checking out to find out more about this fascinating bird!

Discover The Official California State Bird And Where You Can
The main state bird of California is the California valley quail.

©Brocken Inaglory / Creative Commons

What’s in a Name / Disambiguation

In 1957 the American Ornithological Society reclassified Lophortyx californica moving it into the genus Callipepla. At that time, the brand-new taxonomic name for the California quail ended up being Callipepla californica.
This taxonomic modification was proposed several years previously by the American field biologist Joseph Grinnell, in The Distribution of the Birds of California. Grinnell’s proposition was based upon a research study of the morphology and habits of the quail types, which led him to conclude that the California quail belonged in the genus Callipepla. Since the taxonomic modification, the California valley quail has actually been extensively described by its brand-new taxonomic name, Callipepla californica, and is acknowledged as a member of the Callipepla genus by the majority of authorities.

The Official California State Bird: Where Can You See it?

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The California valley quail can be discovered in numerous parts of California, especially in the western area of the state. Here are a few of the very best locations to see California Quail:

  • Central Valley: The California valley quail is typically discovered in the Central Valley area of California, especially in locations with meadows and oak forests.
  • Point Reyes National Seashore: This park situated in Marin County is understood for its varied wildlife, consisting of the California quail. Visitors can see the birds foraging on the ground in grassy locations.
  • Griffith Park, Los Angeles: This park in the heart of Los Angeles is home to a population of California Quails, and visitors can frequently see them foraging for food on the ground.
  • Utah: Callipepla californica was presented to the state in 1869. California quail are now a typical sight in Salt Lake City parks, golf courses, and yards!  


The California valley quail is a little, plump bird that is around 9-10 inches (22-25 cm) in length, weighing in between 5-6 ounces (141-170 grams). It has a wingspan of 14 inches (35.5 cm)! It has an unique forward-curling plume on its head, a brief, curved beak, and a round body.
The male has a black confront with a white summary and a white stripe above its eyes. Its body is mainly brown with black and white markings, and it has a rust-colored breast with white spots that look like a fish scale pattern. Its beak is brief, pointed, and black. The female has a comparable body pattern however is more soft. Females likewise do not have the unique face and head markings of males.
Both males and women have an unique call, which is a series of brief, balanced notes that seems like Chi-ca-go! or pah-WEY! They are frequently seen in little flocks and can be discovered in meadows, foothills, and farming locations.

California Quail, Callipepla Californica, Taken In California, Usa, Taken In Wild. The Bird Is Visible In The Right Frame, Facing Left. Its Back Is A Fawn Brown Color With White Specks On Its Wings. Its Chest Is Gray. Its Face Is Black With A White Outline. It Has A Dark Plume On Its Forehead.
The male has a black confront with a white summary and a white stripe above its eyes.

©Agnieszka Bacal/

1679031037 111 Discover The Official California State Bird And Where You Can

The Official California State Bird: Behavior

California Valley Quails are social birds and are frequently discovered in groups called coveys. They are active throughout the day and spend much of their time on the ground, foraging for food and taking dust baths to keep their plumes tidy. When disrupted, they will frequently collect in a tight circle with their heads dealing with external, all set to fly away if needed. This habits is called quail huddle and is a defense reaction versus predators, and a method to remain warm in the winter season.
California Valley Quails are serially monogamous, mating for just one season. During the breeding season, males will carry out courtship display screens, such as expanding their plumes and calling out to women. The female will then lay a clutch of 12-28 eggs in a shallow anxiety on the ground, which she will breed for about 3 weeks up until they hatch. Males take an active function in the rearing of the chicks.

The Official California State Bird: Habitat

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The California valley quail is belonging to the Western United States. In California, they are mainly discovered in the Western half of the state, from the Central Valley to the coast and into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range of mountains. California valley quail choose environments with a mix of open meadows and brushy locations, such as chaparral, sagebrush, and oak forests. They are likewise discovered in farming locations, particularly where crops like alfalfa and grains are grown. They are non-migratory birds and tend to remain in their home variety throughout the year. During the winter season, they might transfer to lower elevations to leave the snow and prevent cold temperature levels.

The Official California State Bird: Diet

California valley quail mainly eat seeds of lawns, wildflowers, and clover They likewise consume pests, such as beetles, ants, and insects, along with fruits and berries when they are available.
In farming locations, they might consume crops such as alfalfa, grains, and corn, however they normally do not trigger considerable damage to crops. In truth, California valley quail can be helpful to farmers as they eat pests that might possibly damage crops.
California valley quail have a strong gastrointestinal system that enables them to draw out nutrients from seeds. They have a muscular gizzard that grinds up the seeds they consume and a cecum that ferments the seeds to break them down even more. This enables them to draw out more nutrients from the seeds and assists them to make it through in deserts with minimal food resources.

California Quail (Callipepla Californica) With Young
California valley quail depend upon their capability to conceal and mix in with their environments.

©Brocken Inaglory / Creative Commons

The Official California State Bird: Predators

The official state bird of California faces threats from a variety of predators. Birds of prey like hawks and falcons are a significant threat to California valley quail, swooping down and capturing them in flight or on the ground. Coyotes and foxes Will prey on these birds and their eggs, principally during the nesting season. Gopher snakes and rattlers will slither into a quail’s nest in search of a nice meal of quail eggs. Feral and domesticated cats are also predators of these birds.

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California valley quail depend on their ability to hide and blend in with their surroundings, as well as their ability to fly short distances to escape danger. They also use group behavior to protect themselves. Coveys of 10-200 quails will take a trip and feed together, and they are understood to give off alerting calls and signals when a predator neighbors.

The Official California State Bird: In New Zealand

The California Quail was presented to New Zealand for hunting and farming functions in the late 1800s. The bird was appropriate to the regional environment and rapidly developed breeding populations in numerous areas of the nation. Today, the California Quail is thought about a video game bird in New Zealand and is hunted recreationally. However, its intro has likewise had some unfavorable impacts on native bird types, as the California Quail takes on them for food and environment, and is understood to hybridize with some types of native quail.

Five Facts About Callipepla californica

  • The California Quail’s head plume is really a cluster of 6 overlapping plumes.
  • California Valley Quails are understood for their fancy courtship display screens, which include the males expanding their chest plumes, calling loudly, and strutting around in circles to draw in a mate.
  • California Valley Quails have a fairly brief life expectancy of just 3-5 years in the wild, due to high predation rates and ecological aspects. The oldest understood California quail lived almost 7 years – 6 years and 11 months.
  • California Valley Quail are leisure video game birds in California and are treasured for their tender, delicious meat. However, hunting guidelines and preservation efforts have actually assisted to guarantee that their populations stay steady and sustainable.
  • Approximately 40 minutes prior to the sun increases, California quail will have a covey call, in which members of the covey check in utilizing their unique Chi-ca-go! call.

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