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Sunday, June 17, 2012

California's state bird

California's state bird, the California Quail (Callipepla californica), is a common resident on Bodega Head, especially in grassland and dune areas with shrub cover.

Note the bold black and white facial markings of the adult male (above), along with the comma-shaped topknot (although it appears to be a single feather, it's actually a set of 6 feathers).

The female is browner/grayer, with a shorter topknot.

The most familiar call of the California Quail is probably the "Assembly Call" or "Rally Call."  It's sometimes written as "chi-CA-go" or "cu-CA-cow".  Both male and female quail give this call when an individual is separated from a group or mate, or before/during movement of a covey.  

Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's web site to hear this sound (and others!).

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