. Californian quail
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- Scientific Name: Lophortyx californicus
(Click on photo to enlarge - hen on right)
- Common Name/s:
- Sub Species in country / area of origin:
8. One in captivity in Australia (L. c. californicus)
- Origin / Distribution: West coast
of the United States of America (Oregon to California).
- Habitat In Wild: Occupy a diverse habitat -
needs a suitable ground cover. Usually found in rangelands and
- Status In Wild: ?
- Status In (Australian) Captivity:
Secure, but becoming more unpopular due to the increasing trend of
the hens refusing to incubate their own eggs.
- Age To Sexual Maturity: about 12
- Adult plumage: attained at about 2
months. Can be sexed at about 2 months of age.
- Best breeding years (estimate):
- Lifespan (estimate): approx.
- Sexing: Monomorphic
- Colour mutations: None
- Availability: Bird dealers.
- Temperament: Large bird and
generally one pair per planted aviary. They are usually suitable
with finches and small parrots but as they may perch above ground at
night in a planted aviary, this may interfere with nesting finches.
Wing flight clipping will help prevent this happening but will not
eliminate the problem. May breed
year round in a suitable aviary. Many are reared in incubators and
now many hens lay like chooks without the instinct to incubate their
- Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: -
Normal colour (Approx.) $100
- Description Of Adults:
Largest of all the quail held in Australian aviculture. Both
sexes have a crest.
- Length: Approx. 220 - 240 mm (or approx. 9 - 10
- Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer
photo top right above.
(Click on above photo to enlarge)
- Weight: Up to approx. 200 gms (or approx. 7 ozs)
Level Of Knowledge Required:
Beginner / Intermediate
/ Advanced / Specialist
Government Regulations & By-Laws:
Refer to " Government Laws " web page.
Housing Requirements: Refer to "
Quail " web page for general
details on the housing of Quail or read on for specific details for
Compatible with most finches, small
parrots, doves and pigeons. Best breeding results are with one pair per
aviary. Planted aviary is preferred. Californian and Bob White quail should
not be housed with other types of birds that spend a lot of time on the
floor. Problems can occur with finches etc. that spend a lot of
time at floor level or use the floor space as their courtship, or mating
Australian quail generally do not use a
perch either during the day or to roost on during the night. Two
of the introduced quail, the Californian and the Bobwhite will use a
perch at night to roost. This can cause problems during finch
nesting season if the quail lands on a finch nest. Wing flight
clipping will help prevent this happening but will not eliminate the
Diet / Feeding: Refer to "
Quail " web page for general
details on the feeding of Quail or read on for specific details for
Natural diet includes seeds and berries,
plant material such as leaves, and insects.
Good quality finch or small parrot mix and vegetable green foods as per "Quail" web page.
Californian quail are not reliant on live foods for good breeding
results but will benefit if supplied during breeding season. May
eat some of the commercial poultry pellets. The commercial farmers
of these birds have developed and produce a nutritionally balanced
pellet food suitable for aviary use.
- Nesting months: May
breed year round if conditions are suitable.
- Nest location: On the
floor usually at the back of the aviary in a
- Nest material: Dry
grasses, leaves and plant material.
- Who incubates the egg/s: Hen
/ cock / both share.
Breeding: Egg Colour
Creamy white. Clutch/s per year = multiple. Eggs per
nest 10 - 12. Incubation
approx 18 days.
Independent approx. another ? weeks.
Both parent birds feed and care for the young.
Many hens will lay lots of eggs but show
no interest in incubating their eggs. These eggs can be
artificially incubated and hand raised.
As many birds have lost the natural
instinct to incubate and raise their own young it can be extremely
frustrating to many people to have to either abandon the eggs or have to
go to the time consuming trouble of artificial incubation and hand
raising of this species. "Non clucky" strains can lay up to 100 or
more eggs per year. The quail that do their own nest building, egg
incubation and raise their chicks should be identified and placed back
into the aviary. Commercial traits for commercial production.
The natural clucky traits for our aviaries, especially for the beginner
Since the late 1990's, few if any people
can claim success with their Californian quail naturally incubating and
raising a single clutch of eggs.
Artificial incubation and hand
rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site. It is
too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.
Health Issues: Refer to "Avian
Health Issues" web page for information and references.
- Worming and parasite control
and Quarantine requirements of new bird/s or sick bird/s are
considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on
this web site. Refer "Avian Health Issues"
web page option.
- Avian medicine is advancing
at a rapid pace. Keep updating your knowledge and skills.
References: Refer to references listed on "Book References"
- Australian Aviculture
- A/A Vol 25 No. 1 Jan 1971 Page 11-12.
- A/A Vol 20 No 5 May 1966 Page 75.
- A/A Vol 7 No 12 Dec 1953 Page 146.
- Australian Birdkeeper
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