Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The California Quail, Callipepla californica, is a small ground-dwelling bird in the New World quail family.
These birds have a curving crest that droops forward - black in males and brown for females; the flanks are brown with white streaks. Males have a dark brown cap and a black face with a brown back, a grey-blue chest and a light brown belly. Females and immature birds are mainly grey-brown with a light-coloured belly.
Their breeding habitat is shrubby areas and open woodlands in western North America. The nest is a shallow scrape lined with vegetation located on the ground under a shrub or other cover. The female usually lays around 12 eggs. Once they are hatched, both parents look after the young.
They are permanent residents.
These birds forage on the ground, often scratching at the soil. They can sometimes be seen feeding at the sides of roads. Their diet consists mainly of seeds and leaves, but they also eat some berries and insects. If startled, these birds explode into short fast flight. Given a choice, they will normally make their escape on foot.
They often gather in small flocks known as "coveys". Although this bird coexists well at the edges of urban areas, it is declining in some areas as human populations increase. They were originally found mainly in the southwestern United States but they have been introduced into other areas including British Columbia, Hawaii, Chile and New Zealand.
This is the state bird of California.
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