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Northern Bobwhite

Northern Bobwhite

The northern bobwhite is also referred to as bobwhite quail. It is one of the most well known game birds found in the prairie. It can be recognized by its cheery “bob-bob-white” whistle throughout the spring and summer. Bobwhite quail are found in groups called coveys, there is an average of 10 to 12 quail in each covey.

There is a significant distinction in bobwhite quail males and females, however it may be hard to distinguish the difference unless viewed up close. Males have white chins and upper throats, a white stripe from its beak through the eyes and to the back of its head. They also have a brown to black chest collar under the throat and chin. Feathers of the breast are white with some black barring while the rest of the body is in tones of brown and gray with black. The females however lack the neck collar, and have a more tan color rather than white like the males.

The number of bobwhite quail in an area is directly related to the land use, management practices of an area and weather. The main negative influences on bobwhite quail are converting native rangelands to farming grounds, suppressing fire and an increase in urban areas. Cattle and bison grazing are excellent tools to manage bobwhite quail and other wildlife, if the grazing pattern is patchy. Prescribed fire can influence cattle and bison to graze in a patchy pattern.