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Species Of Quail

Species of quail occur in the Americas, Africa, Eurasia, and Australasia. Six native species of quails occur in North America, mostly in the west. In addition, various species of quails have been widely introduced as game birds beyond their natural range, including the common quail, bobwhite, and California quail. Other species are commonly kept in zoos and private aviaries around the world.

The bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) is the most familiar species of quail in southeastern Canada, the eastern and central United States, and south to Guatemala. This species has also been widely introduced as a game-bird. There is a relatively large, introduced population in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. This bird is named after its whistled calls of "bob-bob-white." The California quail (Lophortyx californica) occurs in open woodlands and parks of all of the Pacific states. Gambel's quail (L. gambelii) occurs in the southwestern states and northern Mexico. The males of both of these species have a long, black plume that stands erect on the top of their head. The plume of females is shorter.

The mountain quail (Oreortyx pictus) occurs in woodlands and chaparral at relatively high elevation in the western states. This species also has a head plume, similarly sized in both sexes.

The scaled quail (Callipepla squamata) and harlequin quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae) occur in the southwestern states and Central America.

The only species of quail in Europe is the common quail (Coturnix coturnix), which also ranges widely into Asia and Africa. Northern populations of this robin-sized species are migratory. Numerous attempts have been made to introduce the common quail as a game bird in North America, but none of these have established breeding populations.

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