Rob Hannawacker, NPS
Gambel’s Quail (Callipepla gambelii)
The Gambel’s quail is easy recognized by the black, comma-shaped top-knot protruding from its forehead. This bird avoids extreme summer temperatures by being most active during the early mornings and late afternoons. It spends the hottest part of the day in the shade. If water is available, the Gambel’s quail will drink daily; otherwise, it gets enough water to survive from eating insects and cactus fruit.
Gambel’s quail usually nest on the ground, which can be a dangerous place for baby birds. All young hatch on the same day with their eyes open and covered with down. From that day forward, they are ready to follow (and keep up with) their parents.
Length: 10 in. Wingspan: 14 in.
Diet: Mostly seeds, some insects and fruit
Did You Know?
"Don't call ME pig!" Javelinas are able to eat spiny prickly pear pads with no obvious harm to their mouths, stomachs or intestinal tracts due to an enzyme in their saliva. Javelinas are not true pigs, they are peccaries, which are native to the Americas. True pigs are native to Europe and Asia. Wild pigs and boars are descended from true pigs brought over on boats to the new world.