Queens Zoo Gobblers Welcome New Bobwhites
December 3, 2009
The Queens Zoo’s feathered friends have added some new members to their flock. A covey of bobwhite quail have joined the turkeys, turkey vultures, and ducks in the Aviary
Bobwhite quail are relatives of pheasants and native to North America. They live mostly in the eastern U.S. and Mexico. Their brown and tan plumage helps them blend into their native woodlands, and stay hidden from predators. These birds spend most of their time on the ground and nest among tall grasses, but will take to the air to flee danger. They eat mostly seeds and other plant matter, plus the occasional insect or snail.
A very vocal species, the birds get their name from the male’s high-pitched whistle, which sounds a bit like “bob-bob-white.” It’s mostly heard during the breeding season, during spring and summer.
Bobwhite quail were once a popular game bird but overhunting has driven some populations to local extinction. Their grassland habitats are also threatened.