Scientific Name: Lophortyx californicus
Origin: California, U.S.A.
California Quail is a very hardy and easily manageable ground bird, which adds interest to the aviary at ground level and lives happily with types of birds like cockatiels and budgerigars or weavers, whydahs, and Java Sparrows. The California Quail can be aggressive, so no more than one pair should be kept in an aviary. It must not be kept with birds smaller than its size.
In the wild, the birds are found in habitats that have plants producing food. Such type of vegetation generally exists on the edges of the forests. The birds thrive well in conditions like steppe grasslands, residential areas of medium density, parks, roadsides, and agricultural fields. The birds are usually found in groups called ‘coveys’. The covey breaks up into pairs during the breeding season and builds up nests within a small locality. The bird nestles in the ground.
Description: Size: 25 cm (10 in)
Head: black and white patterned. Breast: grey. Underparts: buff with black pattern. Crest: black, angled forward. Beak: black. Legs: black.
Lacks a black-and-white pattern on the head and has a shorter crest of brown feathers. The body of the female bird’s size is similar to that of a cock.
Plenty of ground cover and a dry shelter is necessary for this specie of bird. This bird is very susceptible to dampness and should be enclosed in very wet weather. It likes to perch high off the ground on occasion and suitable branches should be provided in a quiet spot. California Quail, in common with other quail species, may take fright easily, particularly at night. Roosting spots should be screened with thick bushes or conifers to prevent sudden alarms.
Mixed millets, crushed maize and oats, a little insectile mix, mealworms, and ants’ eggs form the basic diet. Other available insects should be fed along with a piece of little soaked bread can also be given. Thick vegetation in the aviary encourages this bird to eat insects.
To nest, California Quail need clumps of heather or low-growing shrubs and long grass. A hen is capable of laying up to 20 eggs, which she incubates alone. This hen does not always incubate her eggs properly and sometimes it may be necessary to use a domestic Bantam hen as a foster mother.
A good rearing mixture for chicks is a hard-boiled egg mixed with crumbled rusks. Minced raw meat, chopped green food, ants’ eggs, and a variety of insects should be provided. Breadcrumbs may be added to minced meat and placed in a separate dish. Sand, grit, and cuttlefish bone should be available at all times.
California Quail chicks grow rapidly and are independent in a few weeks. They may be left with their parents until the cocks attain the adult patterned coloring. But the young chick is to be removed as soon as they grow old as the cock bird can show aggression against them if the chicks happen to be male ones.
See more: Magpie Mannikin