Sunday Inspiration – New World Quail

Elegant Quail (Callipepla douglasii) Male ©WikiC

“And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.” (Exodus 16:13 KJV)

The Odontophoridae is made up of the New World Quail. This includes 2 Partridges,  3 Wood Partridges, 10 Quails, 4 Bobwhites, and 15 Wood Quail. [and a Partridge in a pear tree! Oops! Wrong article.  :0)  ]

These are not the Old World Quails that rained down on the Israelites.

“The New World quails or Odontophoridae are small birds only distantly related to the Old World quail, but named for their similar appearance and habits. The American species are in their own family Odontophoridae, whereas Old World quail are in the pheasant family Phasianidae. The family ranges from Canada through to southern Brazil, and two species, the California quail and the bobwhite quail, have been successfully introduced to New Zealand. The stone partridge and Nahan’s partridge, both found in Africa, seem to belong to the family. Species are found across a variety of habitats from tropical rainforest to deserts, although few species are capable of surviving at very low temperatures. Thirty-four species are placed in ten genera.” (Wikipedia)

Dark-backed Wood Quail (Odontophorus melanonotus) ©WikiC

Dark-backed Wood Quail (Odontophorus melanonotus) ©WikiC

New World quail are generally short-winged, -necked and -tailed (although the genus Dendrortyx is long-tailed). The bills are short, slightly curved and serrated. The legs are short and powerful, and lack the spurs of many Old World galliformes. Although they are capable of short bursts of strong flight New World quails prefer to walk, and will run from danger (or hide), taking off explosively only as a last resort. Plumage varies from dull to spectacular, and many species have ornamental crests or plumes on the head. There is moderate sexual dichromism in plumage, with males having brighter plumage.

The New World quails are shy diurnal birds and generally live on the ground; even the tree quails which roost in high trees generally feed mainly on the ground. They are generalists with regards to their diet, taking insects, seeds, vegetation and tubers. Desert species in particular consume a lot of seeds.

Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) ©StateSymbols

Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) ©StateSymbols

Northern bobwhite and California quail are popular gamebirds, with many taken by hunters, but these species have also had their ranges increased to meet hunting demand and are not threatened. They are also artificially stocked. Some species are threatened by human activity, such as the bearded tree quail of Mexico, which is threatened by habitat loss and illegal hunting.

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“The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.” (Psalms 105:40 KJV)

“Man of Sorrows” – Faith Baptist Choir

More Sunday Inspirations

Birds of the Bible – Quail

Birds of the World – Odontophoridae – New World Quail

10 Reasons Jesus Came to Die


Ian’s Bird of the Week – Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 5/21/14

One of the specialties at Bowra is the Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush a mainly terrestrial inhabitant of stony areas with scrubby bushes, particular mulga, in dry, but not desert, parts of western Queensland and NSW with a widely-separated population in Western Australia. It has suffered in eastern Australia from habitat clearance, but can usually be found at Bowra in an area called the Stony Ridge on the road that runs west of the homestead. This location, incidentally is also good for another specialty, Hall’s Babbler.

Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush (Cinclosoma castaneothorax)  by Ian

Quail-thrushes are shy and either sit tight and flush suddenly with a quail-like whirring of their wings or run for cover. The Chestnut-breasted usually runs, but this time we unwittingly encircled this male bird which took refuge in a dead tree, the first time I’ve seen any quail-thrush do so. It looked confused rather than alarmed and wandered for a long time from branch to branch providing unusually good opportunities for photography until it hopped down onto the ground and ran away. On this occasion we saw only the brightly coloured male; females have more subdued colours, brown replacing the all the black plumage except the spotty wing coverts and rely on camouflage to escape detection when nesting on the ground. Quail-thrushes feed on both insects and seeds and there are an Australasian taxon with about four species in Australia and one in New Guinea.

Chestnut Quail-thrush by Ian

Chestnut Quail-thrush by Ian

Quail-thrushes presumably get the quail part of their name from their terrestrial habits and whirring flight and the thrush part from their body shape. Cinclosoma is bird-taxonomy-speak for thrush in a confused sort of way. Confused because the Latin cinclus means thrush but derives from the Greek Kinklos a waterside bird of unknown type mentioned by Aristotle and others and though to be either an Old World Wagtail or a wader. To add to the confusion, Cinclidae refers to the Dipper family, not the thrushes, with Cinclus cinclus being the Eurasian White-breasted Dipper.


White-throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) by Ian

White-throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) by Ian


The confusion continues with actual taxonomy. The western race of the Chestnut-breasted is sometimes (IOC) treated as a separate species, the Western Quail-thrush. Meanwhile the geographically intermediate and closely-related Cinnamon Quail-thrush of central Australia desert country is sometimes split in two as well, with the Nullabor race being treated as a separate species, though it has also been lumped with the Chestnut-breasted. If that’s not enough, Birdlife International puts the Quail-thrushes in a family of their own, the Cinclosomatidae, while Birdlife Australia and the IOC lump with the Whipbirds and called them Psophodidae. (Birdlife International use to lump them and call them the Eupetidae.) I though you’d like to know! Let’s just enjoy the photos:

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737
Bird Photos
Recorder Society

Lee’s Addition:

The people asked, and He brought quail, And satisfied them with the bread of heaven. (Psa 105:40)

Thanks, Ian, for introducing us to another interesting bird. Your timing is perfect, as I am away from my computer for a few days.

Ian’s Bird of the Week
Odontophoridae – New World Quail Family


Vol 2 #2 – Gambel’s Partridge

Gambel's Quail (Callipepla gambelii)

Gambel’s Partridge by Birds Illustrated by Color Photography

From col. F. M. Woodruff.



AMBEL’S PARTRIDGE, of which comparatively little is known, is a characteristic game bird of Arizona and New Mexico, of rare beauty, and with habits similar to others of the species of which there are about two hundred. Mr. W. E. D. Scott found the species distributed throughout the entire Catalina region in Arizona below an altitude of 5,000 feet. The bird is also known as the Arizona Quail.

The nest is made in a depression in the ground sometimes without any lining. From eight to sixteen eggs are laid. They are most beautifully marked on a creamy-white ground with scattered spots and blotches of old gold, and sometimes light drab and chestnut red. In some specimens the gold coloring is so pronounced that it strongly suggests to the imagination that this quail feeds upon the grains of the precious metal which characterizes its home, and that the pigment is imparted to the eggs.

After the nesting season these birds commonly gather in “coveys” or bevies, usually composed of the members of but one family. As a rule they are terrestrial, but may take to trees when flushed. They are game birds par excellence, and, says Chapman, trusting to the concealment afforded by their dull colors, attempt to avoid detection by hiding rather than by flying. The flight is rapid and accompanied by a startling whirr, caused by the quick strokes of their small, concave, stiff-feathered wings. They roost on the ground, tail to tail, with heads pointing outward; “a bunch of closely huddled forms—a living bomb whose explosion is scarcely less startling than that of dynamite manufacture.”

The Partridge is on all hands admitted to be wholly harmless, and at times beneficial to the agriculturist. It is an undoubted fact that it thrives with the highest system of cultivation, and the lands that are the most carefully tilled, and bear the greatest quantity of grain and green crops, generally produce the greatest number of Partridges.


GAMBEL’S PARTRIDGE.Callipepla gambeli.

Range—Northwestern Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico, southern Utah, and western Utah and western Texas.

Nest—Placed on the ground, sometimes without any lining.

Eggs—From eight to sixteen.

Gambel's Quail (Callipepla gambelii) by S Slayton

Gambel’s Quail (Callipepla gambelii) by S Slayton

Lee’s Addition:

Partridges are mentioned in two verses, thus making it a Bible Bird. Of course, the Gambel’s is not mentioned, only his family. They belong to the Galliformes order and are now called the Gambel’s Quail. They are in the Odontophoridae – New World Quail Family along with 33 other species (3.1 IOC).

Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth away from the presence of the LORD, for the king of Israel has come out to seek a single flea like one who hunts a partridge in the mountains. (1 Samuel 26:20 ESV)

Like the partridge that gathers a brood that she did not hatch, so is he who gets riches but not by justice; in the midst of his days they will leave him, and at his end he will be a fool. (Jeremiah 17:11 ESV)

Since they are now known as Quails, that species also appears in Scripture four times. Exodus 16:13, Numbers 11:31-32, and Psalms 105:40 all mention quail as a provision for His people. We were privileged to see the Gambel’s Quail in California in 1999. They are so neat walking around with that top knot bobbing along.

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp. (Exodus 16:13 ESV)

Then a wind from the LORD sprang up, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, around the camp, and about two cubits above the ground. And the people rose all that day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail. Those who gathered least gathered ten homers. And they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. (Numbers 11:31-32 ESV)

They asked, and he brought quail, and gave them bread from heaven in abundance. (Psalms 105:40 ESV)

Gambel's Quail (Callipepla gambelii) ©WikiC

Gambel’s Quail (Callipepla gambelii) ©WikiC

“The Gambel’s Quail, Callipepla gambelii, is a small ground-dwelling bird in the New World quail family. It inhabits the desert regions of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Texas, and Sonora; also New Mexico-border Chihuahua and the Colorado River region of Baja California. The Gambel’s quail is named in honor of William Gambel, a 19th century naturalist and explorer of the Southwestern United States.” (Wikipedia)


Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited – Introduction

The above article is the first article in the monthly serial that was started in January 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited


(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Yellow Warbler

The Previous Article – To A Water-Fowl

ABC’s Of The Gospel


Odontophoridae – New World Quail Family

GALLIFORMES – Fowl, Quail, Guans, Currasows, Megapodes Order

Gambel’s Quail – Wikipedia

Gambel’s Quail – All About Birds



Birds of the Bible – Quail II


Brown Quail (Coturnix ypsilophora) by Ian

Brown Quail (Coturnix ypsilophora) by Ian

It has been almost two years since the Quail have been written about. Birds of the Bible – Quail was early in this blogs history, so decided to write more about them.

The Bible has four references to quail and they are all found in the Old Testament. They refer to the time that the Israelites were in the desert after they had left Egypt by way of the Red Sea. They had been complaining about their lack of food, so the LORD answered them with:

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God. And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host. (Exodus 16:11-13 KJV)

So, their request was taken care of every morning and evening. Just as today, we have a promise:

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19 KJV)

That incident took place on the 15th day of the second month after coming out of Egypt. Then right around the 20th day of the second month of the second year, they started complaining again about not having flesh to eat.

We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes. (Numbers 11:5-6 KJV)

“Poor me! All we have to eat is manna, manna, manna.” Can you hear them? God wanted them to trust Him. God promises to meet our needs, not necessarily our wants. This is where the incident written about in the first article came about. They were well taken care of, even their shoes did not wear out in the 40 years they spent in the wilderness. Read Psalm 105 where it tells about all the LORD did for them. In Psalm 105:40 it says, “The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.”

Are we satisfied with what the Lord has provided or do we go around with a protruding lower lip saying, “Poor me!” I trust your lip is normal and that you can say along with Paul:

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Philippians 4:11 KJV)

King Quail (Excalfactoria chinensis) Asian Blue by Kent Nickell

King Quail (Excalfactoria chinensis) by Kent Nickell

The Quail are numerous around the world and they are found in several families of birds. The Odontophoridae – New World Quail Family (34 members) includes not only Quails, but also 4 Bobwhites, 1 Francolin, and 4 Partridges. The Phasianidae – Pheasants, Fowl & Allies Family has 181 members. That is probably where the Quails mentioned in the wilderness came from because they are of the Old World area. That family has 13 Quail and a mix of other related birds including Turkeys, Pheasants and Peacocks. Both of these families are in the Galliformes Order.

Old World quail are the smallest birds in their family and are about 5 in (12-13 cm). The New World ones are 7-15 in (17-37 cm) long. They are very similar but are placed in the two families by ornithologists. They have short thick beaks with chunky bodies. Most do not make long flights and mainly fly when flushed. They are mostly seed and vegetation eaters, but some do eat insects.

Here in the U.S., the Northern Bobwhite’s call is very familiar.