Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus

  • Order: Galliformes
  • Family: Odontophoridae
  • Polytypic: 21 subspecies
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Distinctive small quail with short crest or peak to the head. Strong black-and-white striped face with brown crown and white throat. Rich chestnut upperparts with brown-and-white-scaled underparts.


Small, plump quail striped and speckled overall with black, brown, and white. Females have buffy throat and stripe over the eye.

Male (Masked)

In "Masked" subspecies of southwestern U.S. and Mexico, male has black head with solid rufous or chestnut underparts.


Small quail with striking black-and-white face pattern. Usually found in groups on the ground.


Small quail usually found on the ground in dense grassy or brushy areas; can be easier to find when they venture onto or cross roads. Females have buffy stripe over eye and throat; may show a short raised crest as males do.


Usually found on the ground in dense grassy or shrubby areas.


Small quail with short crest and striking black-and-white face pattern.

Males and females

Usually seen in groups known as coveys that include males, females, and young birds.

Recommended Citation

Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: