An elegantly streamlined and colorful quail of western mountains. Adult has bold white vertical bars on flanks, overlaid on deep chestnut belly and sides, orange undertail coverts, brownish-gray upperparts, clean gray head and breast, burgundy-red throat with white outline, short legs and tail, and long, thin, straight plume rising vertically from forehead.
Length: 28 (cm) Wingspan: 41 (cm)
Song is a loud, resounding two-note kwee-ark accented on the first syllable, often heard in early morning from mountain hillsides; also clucking and single notes in series.
Scrubby growth, regenerating clearcuts, brushy areas; usually at mid- to high elevations, but down to sea level in some areas.
Typically found in pairs (summer) or small coveys (winter). Somewhat secretive; heard more often than seen. Often runs into the brush rather than flying when startled. Nest is a scrape lined with fine vegetation, hidden among rotten logs or upright grasses.
Forages on ground, pecking at seeds, grains, insects, buds, leaves, and some flowers.
Mountain Quail males utter the "quark" call beginning around the spring equinox and continuing until early July. This call can be heard a mile away in quiet surroundings. During the rest of the year, birds in coveys communicate with distinctively querulous, worried-sounding notes. There are at least two variations on this call: (1) a rising series of "wert" or "querk" notes, accelerating, reaching a sustained pitch, and then ending abruptly; and (2) repeated fluttery exclamations in a similar voice that quickly descend, and which often immediately follow the rising notes; this sounds a little like a Douglas squirrel or Western Screech-Owl.
Citation: Personal Experience. I observe this regularly, highly confident.
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|David Fix added a note to Mountain Quail Notes||7/03/2011 at 11:02PM|