Northern Bobwhite: Origin, Characteristics & Pictures

Northern Bobwhite quail is a member of New World quails, and it is known to be a ground-living bird. It is also known as Virginia quail or Bobwhite quail.

The natural appearance of the bird is stunning, and this is the reason why many people prefer to breed them as pets.

The article provides detail information about the origin, characteristics, and some of the other hidden features of bobwhite through the pictures.

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History & Origin of Northern Bobwhite Quail

The wild bird has its origin in the native United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

The birds were grouped into the Old World quail in the pheasant family though it has no close relationship.

The whistling call is the reason why it was named as bobwhite. The birds are quite popular in Northern America.

Most of these birds are found in the agricultural fields, grassland, roadsides, wood edges, and open woodland areas.

Some of the popular states in the United States where these quails are found in large numbers are Great Lakes, Southern Minnesota East, Pennsylvania, Southern Massachusetts, Southern Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, and westernmost Texas.

However, if you want to breed these birds in the United States, you will be expected to acquire a permit from authorities.

There are about 21 subspecies of these birds, but they are grouped into three. Native Americans hunt them as wild birds for food.

Northern Bobwhite Quail Characteristics

Size & Weight

These birds are generally small in format, but they look adorable. The average weight of a mature bird ranges between 130 and 255 grams.

Color & Appearance

The wild birds have a chunky, rounded body shape. The bill is short curved and brown-black. It is also quite easy to differentiate between a male and female bird.

The male quails have a white throat and brow stripe bordered by black with rufous plumage which has gray mottling on the wings, white scalloped lines on the flanks, and black scallops on the whitish underparts.

The female quails are duller and have a buff throat and brow without the black border. However, both the female and male quail have a gray tail with pale legs and feet.

Body Shape

The quails have an average length that ranges between 24 to 28 cm with an average wingspan of 33 to 38 cm. 

The average weight of this quail species varies according to the region where they are found.

The average weight of bobwhite quails in Mexico is about 129-159 grams, while those found in North America ranges between 170 to 173 grams. Male quails tend to be more substantial than female birds.


The birds have adorable colors and exciting features. It is the reason why they are mainly raised as pets or only as a hobby though some Native Americans feed on them.

Climate Tolerance

These quail species are hardy and robust. They have the capability of surviving in different weather climate.

Behavior & Temperament

The quails are generally shy and elusive. However, they can easily be tame and breed as a calm pet. This is because they have a quiet temperament.

Productivity Rate

The female quail’s lay about 12 to 16 eggs and they have the capability of brooding twice in a year. Both the female and male quail incubate the brood for 23-24 days.

Quail Profile & Pictures

Breed NameKing
Other NamesAsian Blue quail, Blue-Breasted quail, Chinese Painted quail and Chung-Chi
Breed PurposePets, hobby
SpeciesOld World Quail
WeightAround 50 grams
Climate ToleranceAlmost all climates
Egg ColorCreamy-brown and slightly pointed at the top
Egg Size/WeightAround 8 grams
Egg Productivity5-13 eggs clutch size
Body ColorBlue, brown, silver, maroon, dark brown and almost black
Place of OriginAsia

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