Gambel’s Quail On Dead Cholla

You may enlarge any image in this blog by clicking on it.  Click again for a detailed view.

I’m repeating myself, I know, with several posts on Gambel’s Quail in recent days.  However, this is my favorite image of this bird.  The males of this species truly are beautiful.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that Gambel’s Quail are far more often heard than seen.  They are a very common and, obviously, highly successful species in our desert environment.  They are truly desert dwellers.  

In the southwestern United States most habitats seem to harbor unique species of quail.  Drive out of the desert into grasslands or higher elevations and the Gambel’s Quail disappear, to be replaced by other quail species.  In our grasslands the dominant species is the Scaled Quail, similar in size to the Gambel’s Quail but with very different plumage.  In slightly higher elevations, one encounters the much smaller Montezuma Quail.  Drive over to southern California and one finds the California Quail, very similar in appearance to Gambel’s Quail.  

Male Gambel’s Quail sport extravagant topknots on their foreheads.  I’ve heard it said that these topknots are sexual attractants and that females swoon over the males with the most robust and symmetrical topknots.   I don’t know if that’s true but the idea adds a romantic touch to any discussion of this species.

Image made with a Canon 5Div, 400mm f4 DO II lens+1.4x telextender, M setting (auto ISO), ISO 800, f5.6 @ 1/2500.

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