Despite its name, the California quail is not quite restricted to that state, breeding from extreme southern British Columbia south through Baja California and into Nevada and parts of Idaho and Utah. The male has a black face outlined in white, a red crown, and a curved black crest feather that looks like a reverse question mark.
It is separated from the similar Gambel’s quail by its speckled belly. The female is duller and has a smaller crest but also has a speckled belly. It breeds in brushy areas and chaparral and is fairly common in some suburban neighborhoods, where it can be a regular visitor to feeders.
The typical call is a ringing Chi-ca-GO, which can be heard for as much as a mile. Family groups in the back yard are frequently heard giving a variety of soft clucking noises.