Also known as desert quail, the Gambel’s Quail is named after the naturalist William Gambel’s and is probably the species of quail that best fits the general perception of what a quail looks like. Around the world, it can be found in the United States and Mexico. The males are the most attractive of the species with impressive white edging around a black face and bright chestnut flanks. The female is more drab in appearance, with grey and brown markings, which acts as excellent camouflage. This bird bears a striking resemblance to the California Quail, although it does not have the same scaling on its stomach.
In the United States, Gamble’s Quail is known to inhabit desert regions of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Texas, New Mexico. The habitat it prefers consists of desert shrubs.The Gambel quails spend the majority of their time on the ground, you would be forgiven for thinking they were flightless, but in actual fact they can reach quite a speed over a short distance in an explosive burst. They never migrate so by default spend their entire lifetime in and around one area. There is an acceptance amongst the creatures of others from different groups - or coveys as they are better known. .
The Gambel feeds in the morning and early evening, resting during the warmest part of the day. They eat all manner of plant life plus seeds, berries, cacti, and small invertebrates. They rely on the cacti to supply them with their daily dose of water, but usually they will not be too far away from a water source anyway.
Although they are considered to be monogamous, the females do sometimes have 2 broods of chicks with different males. They build their nests in a hollow in the ground which they painstakingly scrape out, close to bushes or in tall grass. Between 10 and 16 eggs are laid at a time and will hatch within 24 days. The youngsters can run and feed for themselves within a couple of weeks, but still rely on their parent to provide them food for a while.
The Gamble’s mainly predators are snakes, raptors, foxes, bobcats and coyotes. However, humans are the most important predators of this species.
Hunting Tips & Tricks
Gambel’s Quails are though little birds and even though you may have a hard time hunting them, you’ll gain a lot of respect for them. Even approaching them with dogs shouldn’t be done in an elegant way. As you have to be prepared to face the challenging Gambel’s Quails, you should read some tips & tricks in our section. It contains the basic aspects you have to take into consideration when going hunting for them.
Among the interesting facts you can find in the Interesting Facts section, there has to be mentioned the fact that they have been introduced to Hawaii, where there still are a few of them. The Gambel’s Quails are non-migratory birds. Also, despite the fact that they live in dry regions, they reproduce best in years with adequate rainfalls. Gambel's quail have been introduced to the Hawaiian Islands and can be found on Kaho'olawe and on the big island on the slopes of Mauna Loa.
This bird of the desert makes a loud and nasal sound, which sounds something like “kaa-kaa-kaa”. You can hear its call even in the heat of the desert.