The Scaled Quail has this name due to its distinctive breast and back features which have a flecked appearance with scaly markings on the chest, neck and under bully. It is also called the Blue Quail, thanks to a bluish gray coloring. The busy white crest that it has could be mistaken for a tuft of cotton, which is why the bird is also sometimes known a Cotton Top Quail. They can be found in dry regions down in south western United State and as far down as central Mexico. They have also been introduced to parts of Hawaii, and have established themselves in eastern Nevada and central areas of Washington.
The favourite habitat of the scaled quails is found in arid grasslands and shrub areas. Also, they look for covers which consist of brush piles or piles of wood. Scaled Quails make their nest in rocky slopes or canyons.
Scaled Quail eat mainly seeds, grains and green leaves, with small insects also featuring their dietary menu.
In breeding season, from April through to September, they tend to pair off. The nest will be situated at ground level and will be lined with grass stems and leaves. Construction is carried out by both the quails among vegetation, with things like Yucca plants, potato patches and desert herbs being some of the favorite locations. They will usually be of approximately 3 inches in depth and 9 inches in width. Typically, somewhere between 9 and 16 eggs are laid in a clutch, taking the female around 23 days to incubate. They very often have what is known as a double-brooding, which effectively is the production of 2 consecutive broods during the same breeding season. When the young finally hatch, they are very quickly up and about with one, or more likely both adults, accompanying them on their first forage. The process of progressing to adulthood is rapid with the quail becoming full-sized by the age of 11 to 15 weeks.
The most frequent predators of the Scaled Quails are raccoons, owls, snakes, skunks and also humans. However, these quails have a high level of awareness, that is why they are seldom caught off guard.
Hunting Tips & Tricks
This bird whose feathers resemble a scale should be hunted with the help of a dog working closely in the field, especially trained to focus on one or two birds during a flush. Also, the hunter should wear visible clothing, so that they can be seen by the other hunters. For more useful information, check out other useful tips & tricks in our section.
Scaled Quails are opportunistic eaters. In the first year of their lives, 70% of them don’t survive. Also, their roosting method is done in groups of two or more, tail-to-tail in a tight circle on the ground. The Scaled Quail usually runs to escape enemies rather than fly. The white crest gives the Scaled Quail its colloquial name of "cotton-top."
The Scaled Quail is known for its contact call, "Pay-cos," that seems to echo the Pecos, where it is most common. This call resembles a high shriek.