Amaze-wing Facts About The Northern Bobwhite For Kids

Abhijeet Modi
Oct 20, 2022 By Abhijeet Modi
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Northern bobwhite facts on the bird which belongs to the new world quails group of species
Age: 3-18
Read time: 9.1 Min

The northern bobwhite Colinus virginianus is a small and cute bird. They are also known as the game bird. These birds are seen largely in North America, hence the name.

There exist a total of 22 different subspecies of this bird in the wild. Adult male and female bobwhite look similar but have certain features which help distinguish between the two.

They stay largely in the ground and dig in order to search for food. These birds are predominantly herbivores feeding on seeds, leaves, and fruits however, they also feed on small invertebrates, hence making them omnivores in nature. Their highest populations are in the eastern United States.

These birds fly short distances because of their short stature and they can't reach great heights in flight. When in a position of danger they flap their wings and fly towards the nearest cover area to secure themselves.

The North American birds are loud and so it is simple to spot them. You might wonder if this bird would be appropriate to keep as a pet and the answer is yes.

These bird, just like many other pet birds, make a wonderful companion.

Adopting is legal as long as all necessities are fulfilled however capturing wild northern bobwhites is considered illegal as that would mean losing their ideal habitat. It's important however to raise them from the time they are chick.

In this article, we will take a look at some fun and interesting information on Northern bobwhites who are poultry birds like the hen and turkey. If you liked this article check out factfiles for the great green macaw and the southern cassowary

Northern Bobwhite Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a northern bobwhite?

Northern bobwhites are a type of bird and belong to the odontophoridae family species.

What class of animal does a northern bobwhite belong to?

Northern bobwhite Colinus virginianus is a bird and belongs to the class Aves, it has loud calls.

How many northern bobwhites are there in the world?

The number of the northern Bibwhite is approximately 5.8 million. There exist a total of 22 subspecies of northern bobwhites.

Where does a northern bobwhite live?

Northern bobwhites live primarily in grasslands, fields, and wood edges basically in the woods and are found on the ground as well. They are also adopted as pets by some people and hence they also may be found in homes.

What is a northern bobwhite's habitat?

The northern bobwhites habitats constitute pine forests, shrubby areas, agricultural fields, and grasslands and they are primarily found on the ground and fly short distances. They prefer residing in areas with prescribed fire giving them a grassy ground layer.  

Who do borthern bobwhite live with?

Each northern bobwhite forms groups or coveys of 3-20 birds. At night these coveys roost in a close-packed outward-facing circle.

Coveys are fluid in nature.

Northern bobwhites live on their own, however they travel in coveys including males, females, and young birds, except during the breeding season. These birds are also live with people as a pet if trained from the time they are chicks.

These birds are likely to choose locations where they have easy access to food, water, and shelter and since they cannot fly to great heights they often require places to seek protection in as well in case of any signs of danger or predators.

Certain people also consume quail eggs often which are taken by breeders born their nest during the early stages of their life. Since they are small in size, people tend to consume more than one egg at a time and it is a popular choice of consumption in many countries.

How long does a northern nobwhite live?

The estimated lifespan of a northern bobwhite is five to six years however, the majority of birds do not live more than a year. This is primarily due to temperature differences in winter, which makes it difficult for birds to survive.

These birds are sedentary birds and do not migrate in the winter season. The oldest living northern bobwhite on record lived six years and five months.

How do they reproduce?

During nesting season bobwhite males call to attract females. A bobwhite pair (the parents) have the capability to produce two or three broods and lay 25 offspring or more through the nesting season and a minimum of 12-18 eggs.

The male and female together find a spot to build their nest and work together to dig in the ground which is about six by two inch in size for breeding. Parents support their young with dry grass and other things they can find.

This process takes five days. The hatching process of bobwhites takes 22-24 days.

They are thought to be monogamous, however they are not. They employ various strategies in the breeding season not just to attract the female but also in the way they raise broods, one of which includes their loud calls.

What is their conservation status?

The Northern bobwhites' (game birds') population is considered to be a near threatened species by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature (IUCN). This is primarily due to habitat loss.

Apart from this the impacts of climate change on birds and their habitats have been immense. These birds are much rarer today and their populations have fluctuated greatly in recent years.

Northern Bobwhite Fun Facts

What do northern bobwhites look like?

Northern bobwhites are relatively small birds and have an intricate pattern in brown. Male birds have a bold black and white head pattern. Females on the other hand have an eyebrow and a buffy throat. The Bob white call is loud.

They have relatively short feathers, rounded wings, and a short head. Their eye color is black. These birds don't fly to great heights and are usually seen on the ground.

Male and female birds have different physical features although their size is more or less the same.

How cute are they?

These quail birds are extremely cute and adorable to look, even though they don't fly too much it gives us more time to observe them.

The eggs of the quails are also extremely cute and small in size, the cover or shell color varies from white to blue and sometimes even green, they are also seen in reddish-brown patterned areas.

How do they communicate?

These unique beings communicate through various methods, with the first being through their sense of sound and calls. They have the ability to chirp loudly and this sound can be translated as "bob-bob-white" if we were to say it.

It is estimated that they have a list of 20 different sounds that they make use of to communicate with each other.

They also communicate with each other during the mating season, during which the bobs puff up their feathers, spread their tails and wings, and approach potential mates. Other calls include a low whistled ka-lo-kee and a variety of other calls which they use to communicate.

How big is a northern bobwhite?

The northern bobwhite is 9 in-11 in in lengt, which is ten times bigger than the smallest species of birds, the bee hummingbird which is five to six cm which is approximately two-inch as an adult.

How fast can a northern bobwhite fly?

Bobwhites fly short distances with each flight lasting close to five seconds. This is the bare minimum as compared to other species of birds. They mostly prefer residing on the ground and flight is usually a defense mechanism that they make use of to save themselves.  

How much does a northern bobwhite weigh?

A northern bobwhite weighs 1-2 lb. Their weight also may vary depending on their diet and other factors like the environment. It is suggested that in regions like Mexico, these birds tend to weigh more than other regions.

What are their male and female names of the species?

The male and female are not named differently, but there are slight differences in their appearance which helps identify the same like males are more brightly colored than females. Internally they differ in reproductive functions and males usually try to attract females.

What would you call a baby northern bobwhite?

A baby northern bobwhite is referred to as a chick. The chick's parents take care of the offspring and feed on insects during the first six to eight weeks of their life. Chicks take time to develop feathers and round wings before they are ready to fly. The northern bobwhite reaches sexual maturity at the age of one year.

What do they eat?

The northern bobwhite diet consists of seeds, leaves, fruits, and insects. Their diet varies per season and place. The female bird food consists of more insects than males in the breeding season.

The proportion decision of their diet is as follows 85% of the diet is vegetation and 15% is animal matter, which is primarily small invertebrates. These small quails need access to adequate levels of water. They consume more water during the winter season in the u.s.

Are they dangerous?

These birds are not dangerous or harmful in nature until it's harmed in some manner in which case it is likely to retaliate. These birds are best-kept pets if trained from a young age.

If they are wild birds it's likely for them to react in an unfriendly manner if harmed. Quail population is not dangerous as long as one does not harm them.

Would they make a good pet?

Bobwhites would make a good pet if adopted and trained from when they are a chick since adopting wild adult birds may not yield the same results and is also considered illegal if not done following the rules and restrictions.

It's a good idea to keep the quail in a flock in agricultural fields instead of solely as one pet bird.

Did you know...

Since this northern bobwhite is popularly known as the game bird it is one of the only bird species which has been studied to such an extent. They utilize their color to hide from possible predators in shrubby bushes or grasslands and are popular bird species in Mexico.  

The bob white bird is most active in the morning and afternoon than at night. These birds can survive more than six years in the wild.

Young nesting birds post hatching learn to fly by the age of two to three weeks and are protected by their parents at all times; when a predator detects a chick and plans and attack the parent birds pretend to have a wing injury in front of the predator so they can save the small chick.  

Why is the northern bobwhite endangered?

These birds are classified as near threatened species by the IUCN. In the second half of the 20th century, there was a sharp decline in the population of northern bobwhites primarily due to rapid urbanization, loss of habitat, change in habitats, as well as forestry, and possible predators. One subspecies, the masked bobwhite, is federally listed as endangered.

What is the difference between a northern bobwhite and a butler bobwhite?

There are 22 subspecies of bobwhite birds. Among the two there are two famous ones, the northern bobwhite and the butler bobwhite.

Northern bobwhite and the butler bobwhite primarily feed on seeds, insects, and other things like leaves and certain fruits however they have different habitats and lay white eggs predominantly. Their nesting season may vary as well.

The bob white call varies from that of the butler bobwhite whose sound is melodious and pleasing to hear. Butler species are indigenous to the United States and the largest member of the bobwhite family.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including secretary bird, or bowerbird.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Northern Bobwhite coloring pages.

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Written by Abhijeet Modi

Master of Computer Science

Abhijeet Modi picture

Abhijeet ModiMaster of Computer Science

An experienced and innovative entrepreneur and creative writer, Abhijeet holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Application from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He co-founded an e-commerce website while developing his skills in content writing, making him an expert in creating blog posts, website content, product descriptions, landing pages, and editing articles. Passionate about pushing his limits, Abhijeet brings both technical expertise and creative flair to his work.

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