The Texas Quail, also called the Bobwhite, the Bobwhite Quail or more officially, the Northern Bobwhite, is a small, hen-like, rather unassuming bird that inhabits much of eastern and central North America. It is mostly brownish or red-brownish, with specks of gray, black and white trim. Its scientific name is Colinus virginianus. It weighs about a third of a pound and is up to a foot long. It is usually found in farmlands and in areas with brushy cover. It eats seeds, small fruits and young leaves, insects and invertebrates.
Bobwhites travel in groups (coveys) of one to two dozen birds. When startled or scared, they all fly off in many directions, to confuse the predator. After scattering, they issue low calls to collect their group back together. At night they roost on the ground in a tight circle, tails facing inward, for both warmth and protection.
The Bobwhite has been hunted as food by foxes and hawks and humans for thousands of years. Its name, Bobwhite, is imitative, i. e., the name resembles its call. It is typically a permanent year-round resident of its local habitat. It is the State Bird of Oklahoma and Rhode Island.
Other names and folknames: Bobwhite, Bobwhite Quail, Quail, Texas Quail.
Of late, it has become a media celebrity star in the story of our Veep on an unfortunate February 2006 Quail hunting trip in south Texas.
a two links with some nice photographs:
The Assateague.com link: Assateague
The New England Nature link: New England Nature
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Web page last updated on 19 February 2006