Also Goes By: Scalie, Blue Racer, Cottontop
Photo Courtesy of Gary Kramer, USDA
The Scaled Quail, also known as the Blue Quail, have a blue-grey tint to their black tipped feathers, giving them the appearance of having scales. With a small pointed crest atop their head that that is creamy in color this quail will weigh between 7 to 8 ounces and be up to one foot in length.
These birds enjoy the arid climes of the US Southwest and Mexico. Moreover, sticking close to an open water source is not a necessity resulting in these quail being found 10 to 15 miles from the nearest water supply. They prefer the sparse ground cover of stout forbs and grasses and are usually drawn to dry open valley and rocky slopes. Their home ranges may span between 52 and 60 acres and are typically bereft of streams and dense growth.
A Scaled Quail covey is normally between 30 to 40 birds with the count doubling at times during the winter season. Rather than flush upwards into the air, these birds prefer to run and scatter, regrouping to sit tight while the predator passes.
Having a gun dog that works closely in the field is ideal and it is advisable to focus on one or two birds during a flush to not confuse the shot.