Creature Feature: California Quail

Common Name: California Quail; Scientific Name: Callipepla californica; Wiyot Name: Dugak

Many of you may know the charming California Quail as the state bird of California. These birds, known as “dugak” in the Wiyot language, can be found in scrub brush, chaparral, farm fields, and forest edges.

During non-breeding times, quail form social groups called “convoys”. Convoys travel, forage, and socialize together and especially love taking dust baths. To make a proper dust bath, a group of quail will settle down in soft dirt and shimmy on their bellies until a shallow indentation is formed. As they wiggle, they kick up a cloud of dust which helps maintain their feathers.

Quail will continue to socialize while raising their chicks, forming “communal broods” with other families. These charismatic critters can be seen scurrying around the edges of bushes, with males especially visible from their lookout spots on fenceposts and branches.


Wikipedia – CA Quail
Audubon – CA Quail
Flickr – USFWS and Jim Sedgewick