Gamble’s quail (Callipepla gambelii) live in the hot desert Southwest. They can be found in thorny and brushy habitats by washes and arroyos.
Coveys of Gambel’s quail scratch for food under shrubs and cacti. They eat mostly plants such as grasses, seeds, cacti fruits and berries. Occasional insects round out their diets.
Polytypic, Gambel’s quail have a short, square tail and a small bill. Both sexes have grey plumage on the upper side and a teardrop-shaped topknot on their head. Males have a chestnut crown, black forehead and throat, chestnut sides, whitish underparts and a black belly. The female look like the male but its colors are muted and the female lacks the distinctive black and chestnut male head pattern.
Gambel’s quail hybridize with California and scaled quail where their ranges overlap.
Gambel’s quail prefer to walk or run rather than fly. Their flight is explosive and short.
These pictures show both male and female Gambel’s quail, as well as a mourning dove that was foraging with the quail along an arroyo near Casa Paloma 2 in Green Valley AZ.