On or about December 5, 1792, Archibald Menzies obtained a California Quail and a California Condor at Monterey, California. (The condor was feeding on a beached whale, along with several grizzly bears.) He sent both birds to England, where they were the first two California birds to be given scientific names.
Later, the California Condor and Quail were both candidates for Californias official state bird. The California Quail was officially adopted on June 12, 1931.
The California Quail is a small, plump chickenlike bird with a short black plume sprouting forward from the top of its head. California Quails are gray with a dark brown head. The upper parts of the body are gray to brown-gray. The breast is blue-gray, the belly finely scaled, and the flanks brownish-gray with broad white streaks. A white stripe crosses the eyes and forehead in males, which also have a black throat bordered by white
Like other quail species, California Quails spend most of their time on the ground. But when frightened, they may suddenly explode in flight.
Enormous numbers of California Quails were once killed by market hunters. Later, these commercial hunters were replaced by sportsmen. Today, the California Quail remains by far the most common of Californias three native quail species. Another quail, the bobwhite, nearly became the state bird of three eastern states.
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