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Mountain Quail - BirdForum Opus

Photo by digishooter
Piute Mountain, Kern Co., California, USA, May 2013
Oreortyx pictus


26–28 cm

  • Brown face
  • Grey breast
  • Brown back and primaries
  • White barred underparts

Though this species is 'monomorphic' the male has a slightly cooler value to the gray plumage, whereas the female tends to be slightly warmer.


North and Central America:
North America: in Canada found in British Columbia and on Vancouver Island
United States: California, Idaho, Washington, Nevada, Oregon
Central America: occurs only in Mexico



Clements treats this species as monotypic, Gill and Donsker recognize 5 subspecies:

  • O. p. pictus in southwest Washington to northwest California (northwest USA)
  • O. p. plumifer in Oregon, northeast California, western Nevada (northwest USA)
  • O. p. russelli in Little San Bernadino Mountains, California (southwest USA)
  • O. p. eremophilus in southern California (southwest USA)
  • O. p. confinis in northern Baja California (Mexico)


Mountainous chapparal areas and mixed evergreen forests.



Their diet consists mostly of plant matter and seeds, bulbs, fruit and flowers. The chicks are fed insects then gradually consume more plant matter as they mature.


The clutch consists of 9-10 eggs which are laid in a scrape which is concealed by vegetation, usually at the base of a tree or under a shrub, normally close to water. The eggs are incubated for 21-25 days by the female.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9., with updates to August 2014. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2014. IOC World Bird Names (version 4.3). Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/.
  3. Avibase
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved July 2014)
  5. AvianWeb
  6. BF Member observations

Recommended Citation

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