Bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus): Photo Credit Judd Patterson.
The Bobwhite Quail is a ground-dwelling bird native to eastern North America. Its name is derived from its easily recognizable clear whistle call (“bob-WHITE” or “bob-bob-WHITE”). Each syllable is slow and distinctly spaced, with the last syllable being a higher pitch than the first syllable. Because quail are shy, if you are walking in appropriate habitat, you’re more likely to be aware of its presence by its call than visually spotting one. If you walk close enough to flush one, it will take an evasive low-level flight.
The Bobwhite quail’s rufous plumage is interrupted by subtle gray mottling on the wings and more obvious white scalloping along the flanks and underparts. Males have a white throat & brow stripe. Females are similar overall but have a buff throat and brow. They have a dark, short curved bill. Loss of adequate nesting cover, brood range and escape thickets are responsible for its declining population. Currently the Bobwhite quail can be found all over Kansas but mostly in northeast & southeast portions of the state. It prefers
agricultural lands, grasslands, as well as open woodland areas and the edges of woodlands. It can be found along roadsides where cover is natural. Learn about the Bobwhite Quail Initiative to enhance habitat.