Sunday Sketch: Quality Quails

California quail (Callipepla californica) mothers are very attentive to both their mates and their young. They excel at listening closely to their mates to synchronize their iconic trisyllabic “Chi-ca-go!” calls, such that the pair alternates who is vocalizing with perfect timing.

These gallinaceous moms also excel at incubating and raising young, with some known to have attempted to tend nests of as many as 28 eggs even when some eggs were clearly laid in their nest by other nesting females. In a similar way, female quails and their mates have a very mutually supportive approach to post-nest parenthood, with many mothers and fathers often cooperating to support and protect large mixed broods.

Sketch/fact by Ian Haliburton

[Edited by Isabelle McDonald]


The Cornell Lab’s “All About Birds” Guide: California Quail


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