Mountain Quail

Oreortyx pictus




New World Quail (Odontophoridae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Creamy buff to red buff

Number of Eggs:

6 - 15

Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground sheltered by small bush or in low shrub.

Nest Material:

Bits of plant material, needles, and grasses.


Altitudinal movements



Mountain Quail: Large, striking quail with long elegant head plume, white-bordered rufous-brown face and throat, gray-brownh upperparts, blue-gray breast, and rufous-brown belly and sides with distinct white bars. Female is browner overall and has shorter plume. Juvenile lacks rufous-brown throat and shows white spots and streaks.

Range and Habitat

Mountain Quail: Inhabits mountainous chaparral west of the Rocky Mountains, from the United States to Baja peninsula Mexico. Been introduced to British Columbia in Canada, and some areas of Washington State in the United States. Found up to 3000 m above sea level. Non-migratory species; however some populations may be attitudinal migrants in some mountain ranges.

Breeding and Nesting

Mountain Quail: Nest is a simple scrape on the ground under dense cover. Lays six to fifteen creamy buff to red buff eggs that are apparently incubated by both parents for 24 days. Chicks are able to walk and feed at one day, and make short flights when 2 weeks old.

Foraging and Feeding

Mountain Quail: Forages almost exclusively on arid brushy hillsides, feeding on a wide variety of seeds and flowers. Will dig for bulbs and climb trees to reach seeds or fruit. In the fall eats many acorns.

Readily Eats

Cracked Corn


Mountain Quail: Loud descending "quee-ark."

Similar Species

Mountain Quail: California Quail has short black plume tilted forward, black throat, dark brown crown and scaled underparts.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The upper front part of a bird.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X