Home » Birds » Gambel’s Quail

Gambel’s Quail

Also Goes By: Arizona Quail, Desert Quail

The Gambel’s Quail is a desert dwelling species that can be found among the mesquite, saltbush, cat’s-claw, creosote and prickly pear. Water is an important part of their habitat, and these birds are likely found within its vicinity scratching along the valley bottoms of river transported soils and decomposed granite. Years with good rainfall will increase the population of this bird and make for an excellent hunting season.

A plump and short-necked bird, the Gambel’s Quail will be 11 inches in length and be camouflaged in intricately patterned chestnut, gray and cream colored feathers. Both sexes will have the comma shaped topknot adorning their heads, but the females will not have the strong head pattern of the males and will be grayer in color.

Coveys will be composed of multiple family groups between 20 to 40 birds. Where a central water source is located it may be possible to find hundreds of these birds nearby. The Gambel’s Quail centers its activities around ground cover, becoming most active during the early morning and late afternoon hours. However, their willingness to traverse large, exposed areas in an arc-like pattern lends an advantage to the hunter in search of their tracks.

Carrying extra water is important in the desert as is wearing boots that will endure the tough terrain and spiny vegetation. As a result, it is always a good idea to bring along pliers for removing cactus spine. Guns that have modified or full choke are ideal for this bird.

Gambel's Quail

Gambel Quail Areas

Where to Hunt Gambel’s Quail


Federal Upland Stamp

It’s Time for The Federal Upland Stamp

Authors: Christine Cunningham and Brian Koch Prototype Stamp Artist: Shari Erickson American landscapes are forever changing as we face the loss of some of our most iconic game bird species. Grassland birds are among the fastest and most consistently declining bird populations in North America and grassland and prairie habitats are the fastest disappearing habitats in the US.  Last … Read more

Ptarmigan Recipe

Grilled White-tailed Ptarmigan Beurre Blanc

One of the side benefits of seemingly endless hours of asphalt we trade to get to wild places is the opportunity to plot preparation for anything we’re fortunate enough to add to the cooler. Since it’s the early season and the garden is not yet frozen, green tomatoes seemed like a great compliment for game … Read more

Brian Koch
Kansas Sunset

Kansas Bird Hunting in Perspective

I make the annual pilgrimage to Kansas to reunite with old friends and family.  It reminds me of where my passion for bird hunting was first kindled.  Because this year was no exception to the rule, Kansas seemed like the right place to bring together our young Jornada Llewellin Rio with our veteran flusher Wyatt … Read more

Brian Koch