Montezuma Quail: Odd, plump quail with short tail, complexly buff-barred and streaked dark upperparts, and heavily white spotted dark underparts divided by a wide rufous-brown stripe from breast to tail. Face is boldly patterned black and white; head has a rounded light brown crest.
Range and Habitat
Montezuma Quail: Uncommon and local on hillsides of oak and pine woodlands and dense shrubs in the southwest.
The Montezuma Quail is also known as Mearns's Quail, the Harlequin Quail (for the male's striking pattern), and the Fool Quail (for its behavior).
An unusual feature of this species is the long, sickle-shaped claws, which it uses for digging.
It is one of the shortest quails of North America, although it weighs the same as some Callipepla quails that are several centimetres longer. It has a plumper build and shorter tail than other quails.
A group of quails has many collective nouns, including a "battery", "drift", "flush", "rout", and "shake" of quails.
The Montezuma Quail has a large range, estimated globally at 690,000 square kilometers. Native to the United States and Mexico, this bird prefers subtropical or tropical forest and shrubland ecosystems. The global population of this bird is estimated at 58,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Montezuma Quail is Least Concern.