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New World quails
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California Quail, Callipepla californica
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Superorder: Galloanserae
Order: Galliformes
Family: Odontophoridae
Gould, 1844

The New World quails or Odontophorids are small birds only distantly related to the Old World Quails, but named for their similar appearance and habits. The American species are in their own family Odontophoridae, whereas Old World Quail are in the pheasant family Phasianidae. The family ranges from Canada through to southern Brazil, and two species, the California Quail and the Bobwhite Quail, have been successfully introduced to New Zealand. A variety of habitats are used by the family from tropical rainforest to deserts, although few species are capable of surviving at very low temperatures. There are 32 species in nine genera.

New World quails are generally short winged, necked and tailed (although the genus Dendrortyx is long-tailed). The bills are short, slightly curved and serrated. The legs are short and powerful, and lack the spurs of many Old World galliforms. Although they are capable of short bursts of strong flight New World quails prefer to walk, and will run from danger (or hide), taking off explosively only as a last resort. Plumage varies from dull to spectacular, and many species have ornamental crests or plumes on the head. There is moderate sexual dichromisim in plumage, with males having brighter plumage.

The New World quails are shy diurnal birds and generally live on the ground; even the tree quails which roost in high trees generally feed mainly on the ground. They are generalists with regards to their diet, taking insects, seeds, vegetation and tubers. Desert living species in particular take a lot of seeds.

Most of the information about the breeding biology of New World quails comes from North American species, which have been better studied than those of the Neotropics. The family is generally thought to be monogamous, and nest are constructed on the ground. Clutch sizes are large, a situation typical within the Galliformes, ranging from 3–6 eggs for the tree quails and wood quails, and as high as 10-15 for the Northern Bobwhite. Incubation takes between 16-30 days depending on the species. Chicks are precocial and quickly leave the nest to accompany the parents in large family groups.

Some species are threatened by human activity, such as the Bearded Tree Quail of Mexico, which is threatened by habitat loss and illegal hunting.

Species

Subfamily Ptilopachinae

Subfamily Odontophorinae

See also

References

External links



Sterna diversity This article is part of Project Bird Families, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each bird family, including made-up families.
Hemipus picatus This article is part of Project Bird Taxonomy, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on every order, family and other taxonomic rank related to birds.
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