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The California quail, (Callipepla californica,) also known as the valley quail or (Lophortyx californica vallicola) (a name used by Dickey), became the official state bird of California in on June 12, 1931.
The Audubon Society selected the valley quail as an appropriate symbol of California and recommended its official adoption to the California Legislature. It was Assembly members Eleanore Miller and Charles W. Fisher who brought the legislation to the California Legislature on January 21, 1931 in the form of Assembly Bill No. 776 (AB 776.) On June 12, 1931, Governor James Rolph, Jr. signed Assembly Bill No. 776. The bill would take effect on August 14 of the same year The act went into effect on August 14, 1931.
The California Quail (Callipepla californica), also known as the California Valley Quail or Valley Quail, is a small ground-dwelling bird in the New World quail family. The California Quail is a striking, round soccer ball of a bird with a rich gray breast, intricately scaled underparts, and a curious, forward-drooping head plume. Its stiffly accented Chi-ca-go call is a common sound of the chaparral and other brushy areas of California and the Northwest. They are often seen scratching at the ground in large groups or darting forward on blurred legs, California Quail are common but inconspicuous. They flush to cover if scared, so approach them gently.
These birds have a curving crest or plume, made of six feathers, that droops forward: black in males and brown for females; the flanks are brown with white streaks. Males have a dark brown cap and a black face with a brown back, a grey-blue chest and a light brown belly. Females and immature birds are mainly grey-brown with a light-colored belly. Their closest relative is Gambel's Quail which has a more southerly distribution and, a longer crest (2.5 in (6.4 cm)), a brighter head and a scalier appearance. The two species separated about 1-2 million years ago, during the Late Pliocene or Early Pleistocene
A widely distributed and prized game bird, it is known for its hardiness and adaptability. Plump, gray-colored and smaller than a pigeon, the California quail sports a downward curving black plume on top of its head and black bib with white stripe under the beak. Flocks number from a few to 60 or more in the fall and winter months, but in the spring break into pairs. They nest in hollows scratched in the ground and concealed by foliage, and their eggs, 6 to 28 in number, are creamy white and thickly spotted with golden brown.
On January 21, 1931, Assembly Bill No. 776 (AB 776), was introduced and read for the first time in the California General Assembly. AB 776 proposed that the California Valley Quail be adopted by the State as "the official bird and avifaunal emblem of the State of California".
On April 10, 1931, less than three months after it was first read, AB 776 was passed by the Assembly and sent on to the Senate for approval. The Senate moved rapidly as well and on May 12, 1931 concurred with the Assembly on AB 776. It was forwarded to Governor James Rolph, Jr. for his approval on May 15, 1931 at 11:00 A.M.
A month later, on June 12, 1931, Governor James Rolph, Jr. signed Assembly Bill No. 776. The bill would take effect on August 14 of the same year.
An act to adopt the California valley quail as the official state bird and avifaunal emblem of this state.
[Approved by the Governor on June 12. 1931. In effect August 14, 1931.]
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
Section 1. The California valley quail (Lophortyx californica) is hereby designated and adopted as the official bird and avifaunal emblem of the State of California.
The law designating the California valley quail as the official California state bird and avifaunal emblem is Section 420-429.7 of the California Government Code, specifically Title 1 (GENERAL) Division 2( STATE SEAL, FLAG, AND EMBLEMS Chapter 2 (STATE FLAG AND EMBLEMS) Section 423.
TITLE 1. GENERAL.
DIVISION 2. STATE SEAL, FLAG, AND EMBLEMS.
CHAPTER 2. STATE FLAG AND EMBLEMS.
423. The California valley quail (Lophortyx californica) is the official bird and avifaunal emblem of the State.
Taxonomic Hierarchy: California Valley Quail
Kingdom: Animalia - (animals
Phylum: Chordata - chordates
Subphylum: Vertebrata - vertebrates
Class: Aves - birds
Order: Galliformes - fowls, gallinaceous birds
Genus: Callipepla Wagler, 1832 - crested quails
Species: Callipepla californica (Shaw, 1798) - Codorniz californiana
Lophortyx californica vallicola (Name used by Dickey)
Binomial name: Callipepla californica (Shaw, 1798)
Taxonomic Serial No.: 175876