Definitely the most common species of quails, Bobwhite is also the most popular and the most studied. It is a member of the New World quails species. It is found around the world, especially in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Bobwhites resemble many game birds in their shy and elusive manner. The birds have a distinctive upright walk with their chest pushed out which, because of their short legs, can look quite comical. They can easily be differentiated: the males have black and white stripes on the side of the head, while females have brown and sandy colored stripes on the back of the head.
These birds are to be found in the southern and western part of the United States, especially west of the Rocky Mountains. They make their habitat in field, brushes and weeds.
Their diet is quite diverse, certainly more so than some of their cousins, consuming thing like small bugs, snails, beetles and grasshoppers, plus the grasses, seeds, fruits, berries and grains that are readily available around their habitat (which can be hedgerows close to open fields, but with plenty of nearby cover). They love to forage on the ground in open spaces, very often alone or just in a pair, during the early part of the year, although they do group up in the late summer into coveys of up to 50 family members.
Reproductively, bobwhites start being active in April, when they form pairs. Although having been considered monogamous, in some cases they are not. Also, both females and males incubate the nests, in proportion of 75/25 per cent. They also lay about 13 eggs, which are meant to be incubated for approx 23 days. They are also known for having the highest rate of reproduction.
The main predators of bobwhites are domestic cats and dogs, skunks, foxes, raccoons and snakes. However, humans also hunt them for their meat and coloring.
Hunting Tips & Tricks
The primary source of finding bobwhite quail is around their food sources and the best time to hunt it is usually late afternoon. If you are an inexperienced hunter or one who wants to try a new game, there are several things you must know before going out there in the field. Either if it’s about the gun to use or what stand is most efficient, the tips & tricks section offers you the things you must know when going quail hunting.
Their feet are adapted for scratching. They are still commonly called “King of native American game birds”. Bobwhites prefer rather than fly when danger is imminent. The bobwhite quail feeds mainly on insects. Males begin their familiar "Bob-Bob-White" call to attract hens for mating in the spring. During early fall, bobwhite quails form into social groups called coveys. Coveys spend the night on the ground in a circle with their heads pointed outward to conserve heat and to avoid nocturnal predators.
Males and females give a loud whistled bob-white call that sweeps upward in pitch; the call is used mostly by unmated males during the breeding season. Both sexes use sharp whistles and soft contact calls to stay in touch with each other while moving and foraging. Adults point out food items to their chicks with a soft tu-tu-tu.