Scaled Quail

Callipepla squamata
Range Map

Scaled Quail may not look like their Gambel’s and California cousins, but they are closely related. A sign of this close relationship can be seen in the crests on the chicks of Gambel’s Quail. They look much like the crests on adult Scaled Quail. These birds thrive in open grassland habitats with scattered brush and cactus. They range from southeastern Arizona northwest through New Mexico and southern Colorado. We also find them south through west Texas into central Mexico.

Science recognises at least four subspecies of Scaled Quail:

  • C. s. squamata lives from southern Sonora, and southern Chihuahua, and southern Coahuila south to Jalisco, Guanajuato, and Edo (Mexico).
  • C. s. pallida lives in southeastern Arizona to western Texas and in Mexico, south to central Sonora and central Chihuahua.
  • C. s. castanogastris lives in south-central Texas south to eastern Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas.
  • C. s. hargravei lives from southeastern Colorado and north-central New Mexico east to southwestern Kansas, western Oklahoma, and the northern Texas panhandle.

It is only C. s. pallida that I have met so far. I had hoped to find Scaled Quail in Texas during my 2020 Spring expedition, but they eluded me until I crossed over the border of New Mexico on my way home. It was in Roswell (New Mexico) at Bitter Lake NWR that these birds so generously gave themselves to me and my camera.

18 Photos

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