Family New World Quails (Odontophoridae)

Least Concern

Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata)


French: Colin écaillé German: Schuppenwachtel Spanish: Colín escamado
Other common names: Chestnut-bellied Quail (castanogastris)

Ortyx squamatus


, 1830,

interior of Mexico


Sometimes considered conspecific with C. douglasii, but genetic study supports treatment as separate species#R. Known to hybridize with Colinus virginianus in the wild#R. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. s. hargravei Rea, 1973 – WC USA in SE Colorado, SW Kansas, N New Mexico, NW Texas and W Oklahoma.
  • C. s. pallida Brewster, 1881 – SE Arizona, S New Mexico and W Texas (SC USA) to NW Mexico (S to CN Sonora and N Chihuahua).
  • C. s. squamata (Vigors, 1830) – N Sonora, S Chihuahua, S Coahuila and N Tamaulipas S to Valley of Mexico.
  • C. s. castanogastris Brewster, 1883 – S USA (SC Texas) and NE Mexico.
  • Introduced to C Washington and Nevada, in W USA.

    Descriptive notes

    25·5–30·5 cm; 151–202 g, with sexes apparently similar, albeit males marginally heavier. Distinctive short, bushy crest is mainly buff to white,... read more


    Repertoire comparatively limited compared to that of Colinus virginianus, but nevertheless... read more


    Desert scrub and grasslands with low-growing grasses, forbs and shrubs, and a ground cover of 10... read more

    Food and feeding

    Takes wide variety of food types, especially seeds, insects and green herbage. In Texas, commonest items were seeds of honey mesquite (... read more


    Generally May–Aug (rainy season), but nests sometimes initiated as early as mid Apr and as late as end Sept. Apparently monogamous,... read more


    Sedentary; birds generally move about less than 2 km, although some movements of over 100 km... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: Safe. Total population probably numbers in excess of 1,000,000 birds. Important gamebird in SW USA; has declined rather... read more

    Recommended citation

    Carroll, J.P., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 9 April 2020).