Bobwhite! Member of the Quail Family and a Fond Memory From My Childhood
Named because of it’s bobwhite call, seeds and berries and other fruits make up the bobwhite quail’s diet for the most part. It also eats leafy vegetation and insects. Seeds are the bird’s mainstay most of the year. Acorns are favored most of all when in season. Adult bobwhites generally feed early in the morning and just before dark when it is cool, but when they have chicks they often feed all day.
Temperatures of 104 degrees Fahrenheit and above are deathly to quail and extreme temperatures can kill them in just minutes. Once their body’s core temperature reaches 114-115 degrees Fahrenheit they die (Texas Tech University Natural Resources Management).
Insects, berries, and dew provide most of the bird’s water needs although it will sometimes take advantage of open water holes.
The bobwhite’s habitat is uncultivated fields with woods nearby or woods along the edges of cultivated fields, which seemed to be among its favorite places on the farm I grew up on. Bobwhites also like open woods that have occasional clearings here and there.
Bobwhites behave in many ways like chickens and their chicks even resemble the Bantam baby chicks we raised on our farm.
Bobwhite mating call
Bobwhite Birds Are Resilient
In the months of April and May bobwhites set up whistling territories and they defend those territories from other male bobwhites. Female bobwhites within that territory are spoken for! The male bobwhites employ the same courtship rituals that Bantam chickens use during mating season – bowing motions, tail fanning, strutting, etc.
Nests are usually on the ground. Together the bobwhite pair scratches out dirt on the ground and then line it with grasses and bits of dead leaves. They arch weeds and tall grasses over the top for shelter.
The quail eggs are very popular among many egg-eating predators and so usually only one nest out of four produces chicks and many of those do not survive either, due to predators. Ever resilient, quail simply rebuild and start over when their nests are pillaged and destroyed (Texas Tech University Natural Resources Management).
The male bobwhite takes turns with the female sitting on the nest, but spends less time at it. If she is killed however, he takes over, hatching and raising the chicks alone (National Geographic 1973).
The broken wing, injury charade, is employed if predators threaten the brood. The first 2 weeks are the most crucial because that is when 50% or more of the hatch is often lost due to predators and bad weather (Texas Tech University).
More About Birds & Butterflies From Au Fait and Her Friends
- Call of the Whippoorwill
Remembering the call of the whippoorwill during the night, deep in the country in Central Wisconsin. Includes information about the bird, it's preferred habitat, it's range, and an audio of it's call.
- The Adventures of Chip, Dale and, Bob
How my husband protects the birdfeeder from the squirrels.
- Glasswing Butterfly Including the Pink Glasswing Butterfly
All about the glasswing butterfly. Range, eating and mating habits, lots of pictures, including a photo of the glasswing caterpillar, and even a picture and information on the pink glasswing butterfly.
- Is This the Real "Murder"of Crows!!
Fascinating report on how crows have learned how to kill poisonous frogs without harming themselves.
- The Bluebirds And The Monarch Butterflies Have Come Home.
The Bluebirds And The Monarchs Have Came Home. The bluebirds are nesting in our backyard. The monarchs are in our milkweed garden. Come and take a look at the beauty of nature.
Quail Mother and Baby Chicks In the Wild
Bobwhite Birds Are Becoming Fewer and Fewer In Population
According to Lake Cumberland Game Bird Farm and Hatchery, “Changing land-use patterns during the last several decades have reduced bobwhite quail to but a shadow of its earlier status.”
Animaltrial.com says, “During much of the year they travel in coveys, sleeping at night in a compact circle, tails to the center. Thus they can fly out in all directions if alarmed.”
Here is a sad bit of information from Audubon.org: “The Northern Bobwhite has been used extensively for nearly 80 years in laboratory research to study the behavioral and physiological effects of pesticides on wildlife.”
Another Version of the Bobwhite Mating Call
The video below will give you a chance to see what quail chicks or bobwhite chicks look like so that you can watch the video of the mother bobwhite and her chicks over again and have a better idea of what you're watching for, since the chicks are particularly hard to see in the grass.