Mountain quail

The dramatic head plume sticks straight when alert or agitated (it’s not a wifi router, guys)


A small and elusive ground-dwelling bird that possesses distinct features that make it both easy to hear and challenging to spot. Notably, these birds are secretive, preferring to stay hidden in their habitat. Despite their inconspicuous demeanor, they showcase an incredible ability to soar to heights of three thousand meters (9800ft) above sea level. This feat sets them apart in the avian world.

One identifying characteristic of the Mountain quail is the presence of two prominent plumes atop their heads, resembling a top knot. This distinctive feature serves as a clue to their altitude preferences. When at ease, the plumes are angled backward, but in moments of activity or alertness, they stand straight, resembling an exclamation mark. This subtle yet expressive behavior adds to the allure of observing these birds in their natural environment.

Mountain quails adopt a monogamous lifestyle during the breeding season, forming enduring pair bonds. This commitment extends to a family-oriented process, producing precocial chicks that can move and fend for themselves shortly after hatching, highlighting the species’ dedication to family life.

Despite their captivating characteristics, the Mountain quail is not considered a threatened species due to its stable population. However, losing suitable habitat poses a potential challenge, as these birds thrive in cool and arid climates.


Population est.
Origin Uncertain
United States

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Flock

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No