Northern Bobwhite Quail – Call | Habitat | Range | Eggs | Diet | Lifespan

Northern Bobwhite

The northern bobwhite, scientific name Colinus virginianus, often known as the Virginia quail or (in its dwelling range) bobwhite quail, is a ground-dwelling bird native to Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Cuba, with launched populations elsewhere within the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. It is a member of the group of species referred to as New World quails (Odontophoridae). In this article, I am going to talk about Northern Bobwhite quail, call, habitat, scientific name, range, eggs, diet, lifespan, etc.

Northern Bobwhite profile

They had been initially positioned with the Old World quails within the pheasant family (Phasianidae), however are usually not significantly intently associated. The name “bobwhite” is an onomatopoeic derivation from its attribute whistling name.

Despite its secretive nature, the northern bobwhite is without doubt one of the most acquainted quails in eastern North America, as a result of it’s often the one quail in its range.

Habitat degradation has doubtless contributed to the northern bobwhite inhabitants in eastern North America declining by roughly 85% from 1966–2014. This inhabitants decline is seemingly range-wide and persevering with.

An emphatic whistled bob-white ringing from a grassy discipline or piney woods has long been a characteristic sound of summers within the Eastern countryside. It’s fairly a bit tougher to spot a Northern Bobwhite because the bird’s elegantly dappled plumage presents wonderful camouflage.

They forage in teams, scurrying between cowl or bursting into flight if alarmed. Bobwhites have been in sharp decline all through the previous half-century, doubtless owing to habitat loss and modifications in agriculture, and they’re more and more excessive precedence for conservation.

The solely native quail within the east. Its whistled bob-white! name is a well-known sound in spring in farmland and brushy pastures.

The birds are heard more typically than seen; though not particularly shy, they typically maintain inside the dense low cover. During fall and winter, bobwhites dwell in coveys, averaging a few dozen birds. At night time they roost on the bottom in circles, tails pointed inward, heads identified.

Northern Bobwhite Description

C. virginianus is a moderately-sized quail and is the one small galliform native to eastern North America. The bobwhite can range from 24 to 28 cm (9.4 to 11.0 in) in size with a 33 to 38 cm (13 to 15 in) wingspan. As indicated by body mass, weights improve in birds discovered additional north, as corresponds to Bergmann’s rule.

In Mexico, northern bobwhites weigh from 129 to 159 g (4.6 to 5.6 oz) whereas within the north they average 170 to 173 g (6.0 to 6.1 oz) and large males can attain as a lot as 255 g (9.0 oz).

Among normal measurements, the wing chord is 9.7 to 11.7 cm (3.eight to 4.6 in), the tail is 5 to 6.8 cm (2.0 to 2.7 in) the culmen is 1.3 to 1.6 cm (0.51 to 0.63 in) and the tarsus is 2.7 to three.3 cm (1.1 to 1.3 in).

It has the everyday chunky, rounded form of a quail. The bill is brief, curved, and brown-black in shade. This species is sexually dimorphic. Males have a white throat and forehead stripe bordered by black.

The general rufous plumage has grey mottling on the wings, white scalloped stripes on the flanks, and black scallops on the whitish underparts. The tail is grey. Females are related however are duller general and have a buff throat and forehead without the black border. Both sexes have pale legs and feet.

Northern Bobwhite Distribution and habitat

The northern bobwhite may be discovered year-round in agricultural fields, grassland, open woodland areas, roadsides, and wooden edges. Its range covers the southeastern quadrant of the United States from the Great Lakes and southern Minnesota east to Pennsylvania and southern Massachusetts and lengthening west to southern Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado front-range foothills to 7,000 feet, and all however westernmost Texas.

It is absent from the southern tip of Florida and the very best elevations of the Appalachian Mountains, however, happens in eastern Mexico and in Cuba and has been launched to Hispaniola, the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, France, China, Portugal, and Italy. Isolated populations even have been launched in Oregon and Washington. The northern bobwhite has additionally been launched to New Zealand.

northern bobwhite call northern bobwhite massachusetts northern bobwhite habitat northern bobwhite hunting northern bobwhite description northern bobwhite scientific name northern bobwhite anatomy northern bobwhite eggs

Northern Bobwhite Vocalizations

The clear whistle “bob-WHITE” or “bob-bob-WHITE” name could be very recognizable. The syllables are gradual and extensively spaced, rising in pitch a full octave from starting to finish. Other calls embody lisps, peeps, and more quickly whistled warning calls.

Northern Bobwhite Behavior and ecology

Like most recreation birds, the northern bobwhite is shy and elusive. When threatened, it’ll crouch and freeze, counting on camouflage to remain undetected, however will flush into low flight if intently disturbed.

It is usually solitary or paired early within the year, but family teams are widespread within the late summer and winter roosts may have two dozen or more birds in a single covey.

Color Pattern

They are intricately patterned in brown, rufous, buff, and black. Males have a daring black-and-white head sample. Females have a buffy throat and eyebrow.

Northern Bobwhite Breeding

The species was as soon as thought of monogamous, however with the arrival of radio telemetry, the sexual habits of bobwhites have higher been described as ambisexual polygamy.

Either parent could incubate a clutch for 23 days, and the precocial younger go away from the nest shortly after hatching.

The primary source of nest failure is predation, with nest success averaging 28% throughout their range.

However, the nest success of steady populations is usually a lot larger than this common, and the aforementioned estimate contains values for declining populations.

Brooding habits vary in that amalgamation (kidnapping, adapting, creating, gang brooding) could happen. An incubating parent could alternatively stick with its younger.

A hen could re-nest as much as 4 instances till she has a profitable nest. However, this can be very uncommon for bobwhites to hatch more than two profitable nests inside one nesting season.

Food and feeding

The northern bobwhite’s food plan consists of plant materials and small invertebrates, corresponding to ticks, snails, grasshoppers, beetles, spiders, crickets, and leafhoppers.

Plant sources embody seeds, wild berries, partridge peas, and cultivated grains. It forages on the bottom in open areas with some spots of taller vegetation.

Optimal nutrient necessities for the bobwhite range relying on the age of the bird and the time of the year. For instance, optimum protein and energy necessities for egg-laying hens (23% protein) are way larger than males (16%).

Feeding Behavior

Forages by strolling on the ground, head down, trying to find meals by sight; generally strikes up into vines or shrubs. Feeds in flocks (coveys) at most seasons, alone or in household teams throughout the breeding season.

Northern Bobwhite Eggs

Usually 12-16. White to pale buff. Incubation is by each sex, 23-24 days. Young: Downy younger go away nest shortly after hatching; are tended by each mother and father, but feed themselves.

If hazard threatens younger, mother and father could place on distraction display. Young could make short flights at 1-2 weeks, not full-grown for a number of more weeks.


Downy younger go away nest shortly after hatching; are tended by each mother and father, but feed themselves. If hazard threatens younger, mother and father could place on distraction display. Young could make brief flights at 1-2 weeks, not full-grown for a number of more weeks.


Includes seeds, leaves, bugs. Diet varies with season and place. Eats many seeds (particularly these of legumes), additionally leaves, buds, berries, acorns, roots, bugs, spiders, and snails. May eat large seeds in winter, with more bugs eaten in summer. Young birds could eat largely bugs at first.


In courtship, male turns head to facet to indicate off pattern, droops wings, fluffs up feathers, makes brief rushes at feminine; additionally walks slowly round feminine with tail fanned, feathers fluffed up.

Nest web site (apparently chosen by each member of pair) is on the floor amongst dense growth. Nest (constructed by each sex) is shallow despair lined with grass, leaves. Grass and weeds are sometimes woven into an arch over the nest, making it very effectively hidden, with an entrance at one facet.

Other Recommended Reading

Northern Bobwhite Identification

Despite their sharp population decline, it’s nonetheless potential to seek out Northern Bobwhite in fields, rangelands, and open forests over a lot of their range. Their name is without doubt one of the best to study of all bird sounds.

The two sharp whistled notes actually do sound like “bob-white!”—and the decision carries a long distance, so if bobwhite are round you’ll in all probability realize it long before you see them.

Look for these unobtrusive birds pecking and scratching on the bottom close to or beneath vegetation—or, more doubtless, bursting upward into a brief flight of flurrying wings in the event you get too shut.

  1. Northern Bobwhite Facts
  2. Because of its history as a recreation bird, the Northern Bobwhite is one of the most intensively studied bird species on this planet. Scientists have researched the impacts of assorted human actions, from pesticide utility to prescribed burning, on each wild and captive bobwhites.
  3. Northern Bobwhites are divided into 22 subspecies, a few of which had been previously thought of to be separate species—such because the Masked Bobwhite, the Rufous-bellied Bobwhite, and the Black-headed Bobwhite. Although the females largely look-alike, the males range dramatically from one subspecies to the next.
  4. Northern Bobwhites had been considered monogamous till researchers started radio-tracking people to comply with their actions. It seems that each female and male bobwhites can have a number of mates in a single season.
  5. The bobwhite genus is represented by more than 700 identified fossils, dug up in websites starting from Florida to Arizona to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.
  6. Some of those fossils are at least 2.5 million years old.
  7. The oldest Northern Bobwhite on record was 6 years, 5 months old. They have brief life spans however make up for it with prolific breeding talents. Under good circumstances, a bobwhite pair can produce 2 or 3 broods, totaling 25 offspring or more, in a single breeding season. Learn more about common ringed plover.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *