Discovering the Desert / Change Over Time

Mountain Quail

Mountain Quail (Oreortyx pictus)

Animalia, Aves, Galliformes, Odontophoridae

The mountain quail (Oreortyx pictus) is a large western quail with a long, straight black topknot. They live in remote mountains with dense shrub cover. This specimen was collected by Long Beach State College in 1960.

Study skins and detailed survey data allow researchers to evaluate regional variations in bird characteristics, and assess a species’ response to changing environments. The ongoing Mojave Desert survey suggests the number of bird species per site has declined an average of 43% over the last century. Total numbers of individuals within those species have decreased by 30%.

Joshua Tree National Park, JOTR 18569