Quail

Oregon has two of the six species native to North America. A group of quail is called a "covey".

California quail

Types of Quail

A male California quail. It is a dark bluish-gray color with a black face surrounded by white stripes. It has a black top knot hanging forward over its face.

California/Valley quail

Features: Valley quail are often detected by their distinctive call which seems to say "Chicago". They are a covey-loving bird and wintering groups may number over 100. They are gray to brown with intricate scaling in the feathers on the belly. Their top knot droops forward toward the beak.

Habitat: Valley quail are among Oregon's most widely distributed game birds. They may be found associated with agricultural and urban areas, as well as in riparian habitats located miles from human habitation. Within these areas, however, valley quail habitat needs are rather specific. Valley quail feed on a wide variety of plant species, most of which we know as weeds. They need a combination of brushy escape cover with adequate roosting areas (off the ground) and more open areas for feeding. They are seldom found far from water.

Technique: Quail and brushy environments go together like ham and eggs, so a good dog is an especially useful companion for hunting valley quail. They are most often hunted in conjunction with other species but can provide excellent hunting when pursued as a primary species.

Mountain quail

Mountain quail

Features: Both male and female mountain quail have a tall, straight, head plume that is black. They also have a chestnut brown throat patch that is bordered by a white stripe. Their head and shoulders are a gray color that fades into olive-brown on their backs. Their sides are brown with several black and white stripes making them a beautiful bird.

Habitat: Mountain quail are native birds found on both sides of the Cascades. They thrive in the natural brushlands of southwestern Oregon and are also found in northwestern Oregon when suitable habitat is created by logging, fire or other disturbance. Greatest abundance occurs in southwestern Oregon, with numbers gradually decreasing as one moves north.

Technique: Southwestern Oregon provides the best mountain quail hunting in the state. Because of low numbers, and the uncertain status of populations, no open season is held in much of eastern Oregon. Because of the brushy and often steep nature of mountain quail habitat, and the tendency for birds to run in heavy cover, they are among the most difficult of Oregon's upland birds to hunt successfully. Since coveys may be widely separated, a popular hunting method involves driving logging roads until birds are seen at which time hunters stop to hunt on foot.