Home » Birds » Mearns Quail

Mearns Quail

Also Goes By: Montezuma Quail, Fool’s Quail, Harlequin Quail

The Mearns look is certainly one of a kind. A small bird, weighing about 6 ounces, with a round body and short tale this Harlequin has a dark chest that is stunningly spattered with white spots and a series of bars and streaks on its back. The males will be a bolder black color with a more intricate facial pattern while the female will have a less distinguished head pattern and be brown in color. Juvenile birds will closely resemble the females.

They prefer the mountainous areas of Arizona and south central and southwestern New Mexico for the dense grass cover. There, the Mearns enjoy dining on the underground tubers and bulbs of nut sedges and wood sorrel, capping off a meal with insects and grass seeds. When searching these birds out, it is wise to look for signs of small holes left behind from their digging and scratching out a good meal.

As the Fool’s Quail, they give quite a startle to the unwitting hunter as they explode in an aberration of brightly colored wings at a close distance. The Mearns will make an almost metallic and wavering call that lacks the shrillness or alarm of some other bird sounds. Because they flush at such close range and stick together in their covey tightly, having a dog along for the hunt is invaluable.

Photo Courtesy of Amaling.
Mearns Quail

Where to Hunt Mearns Quail 

 

 




Dad with Rooster

Making Kansas Memories

Opening day in Kansas occupies a sacred  place for me since this is the territory  where my upland obsession really took hold years ago. The bulk of the state has a dismal bird forecast like much of the rest of the Midwest this year. There are some bright spots which have been deemed the north … 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
Late Season Bobwhite

3000 Miles for One Bird

The sun is dipping into the horizon and the thermometer reads 19° when the dogs and I return to the truck after hunting the final day of upland season in Kansas. A quick check of the fitness band reveals I’ve hiked over 12 miles in eight inches of new snowfall. The dogs never stopped hunting … Read more

Brian Koch