Red Rock Canyon A to Z

G: Gambel’s Quail

Do you recognize this bird by its flamboyant head dressing, its rooster-like call, and its little line of followers? It’s the Gambel’s quail (Callipepla gambelii)! This bird gets its name from an early explorer of the Southwest: William Gambel. Gambel’s quail can be seen scurrying across the ground together in a group called a covey. They are plump little birds with short legs, measuring around 10 inches from head to tail. The colorings are tan and gray with black, red, and white markings. To top it off, the males have a red cap and a small cluster of feathers called a plume that sticks up and curls over the head. The females have a smaller head plume and don’t have the red cap. Gambel’s quail can be spotted running from shrub to shrub in Calico Basin, around the Visitor Center, within Willow Springs Picnic Area, and along many of our trails.

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