|Photo by John Mosesso (Wikipedia)|
Gambel’s quail (en); colim-de-elmo (pt); colin de Gambel (fr); colín de Gambel (es); helmwachtel (de)
This species is found in the western United States and north-western Mexico, from southern Nevada and Utah, through Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas, and into Sonora and Sinaloa along the eastern coast of the Gulf of California.
These birds are 24-28 cm long and have a wingspan of 34-36 cm. They weigh 160-210 g.
The Gambel’s quail is found in hot deserts, mainly in areas dominated my mesquite and other thorny scrubs. They also use arable land to a lesser extent. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 1.600 m.
They mainly feed on a variety of seeds and leaves, as well and cacti fruits and berries. During spring and summer they supplement this herbivorous diet with a few insects.
Gambel’s quails are considered monogamous, although females can sometimes live the young with the male to produce another brood with a new father. They breed in April-August and nest in a shallow bowl made of twigs, grass stems and leaves, and lined with feathers. The nest is usually placed on the ground, often hidden under a scrub or rock, but can sometimes be placed on a tree up to 10 m above the ground. The female lays 10-12 dull white eggs with brown spots, which she mainly incubates alone for 21-23 days. The chicks are able to run around and feed themselves within hours of hatching, but will remain with the parents for some time.
IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and the global population is estimated to be above 1 million individuals. The populations had a stable trend over the last 4 decades.