They eat seeds, young plant shoots, and occasionally insects.
They are plump, with a short black beak. The male has white stripes on its head; the female has a grey or brown head. Both have a dark brown crest.
California Quail form flocks of 20 to 100 birds during the winter, then separate off for mating. They roost in trees, but build their nests on the ground. The females lay 12 to 16 eggs that are cream-coloured mottled with deep brown. The eggs take about 21 days to start hatching. Both male and female tend the chicks. The chicks will start flapping within ten days, and be able to roost in trees after one month.
They are very skittish, but breed easily.
Literature & Lore
California Quail were declared the State Bird of California in 1931.