RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – South Texas is home to two species of quail, Bobwhite and the slightly larger Blue or Scaled quail.
In parts of the arid western Rio Grande Valley, the two share territory as this scaled quail joins a covey of bobwhite scratching out a few seeds.
The chunky male bobwhite is rich reddish brown, mottled and flecked with black. He has a bright white throat and facial stripe, while the female is buff-colored.
The larger scaled or blue quail is so named for the dark edging on its blue gray feathering of the breast and upper back, which gives the bird a scaly appearance. They also sport a distinctive whitish crest and are sometimes called cottontops.
This has been a good year for quail in deep South Texas as timely rains have provided adequate food and cover enabling both bobwhites and scaled quail to successfully reproduce.
Perched next to its parent, this little blue quail is a perfect match replete with scaly appearance and tiny topknot, while this foursome of young bobwhites appear uniformly feathered.
However, sometimes bobs and blues will interbreed, and this male bobwhite and female blue quail were regulars at a ranch country pond in the spring.
By early summer as young began to appear, an unusual few offspring showed up in the same location. They sported a whiter face and chest pattern than a bobwhite, but from the back looked more like a scaled quail with a topnotch more brownish than white.
According to what literature is available, Blue and Bobwhite quail occasionally hybridize, hence the name “blob”. I am just curious whether it will call like a bob or a blue, but it will probably sound like a blob.