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Birds of Yosemite National Park (1954, 1963) by Cyril A. Stebbins and Robert C. Stebbins


FOWL-LIKE BIRDS: Order Galliformes

GROUSE: Family Tetraonidae

BLUE GROUSE
BLUE GROUSE
BLUE GROUSE (Dendragapus obscurus): 16-19 in. Generally dark gray; wings relatively short and broad; under parts gray; tail blackish, tipped with light gray band; bare skin above and below eye yellow to orange; legs feathered. Female: Above brown mottled with black and buff; breast brown, barred with buff; belly whitish. Song a low-pitched series of a half-dozen hoots, becoming fainter toward the end. A single note like broop or boont, of ventriloquial quality. Whirring sound produced in flight. Feeds largely on fir needles. Nests on ground.

R. in coniferous forests (chiefly of Douglas-fir and white and red firs) of the Sierra up to an elevation of 11,000 feet. Fairly common R. in Yosemite region in Canadian and upper Transition life zones; ranges into the Hudsonian zone in late summer.

SAGE GROUSE (Centrocercus urophasianus): 22-30 in. Above variegated brown, black, gray, and buff; below whitish, marked on throat and breast with black; belly black; tail long with stiff, pointed feathers; bill and feet blackish. Female: Smaller, with shorter tail. Resembles small turkey. Whirring sound produced in flight.

Inhabits sagebrush flats, depending upon this plant for food. C. V. to Yosemite region east of Sierran crest. Reported from near Granite Lake and Mount Conness.

QUAIL AND PHEASANTS: Family Phasianidae

MOUNTAIN QUAIL
MOUNTAIN QUAIL
MOUNTAIN QUAIL (Oreortyx pictus) 10 1/2-11 3/4 in. Above brownish-gray tending toward slaty anteriorly; throat chestnut, bordered on sides of neck with white; breast slaty; sides reddish-brown broken by white and black patches; plume long and slender, tipping toward back or held erect. Immature: Chiefly brown; sides of throat black; plume short. Call a single, strong, mellow, whistled woork, given at intervals.

R. on mountain slopes covered with brush (manzanita, chinquapin, snowbush, etc.) and broken forest. In higher mountains migrates on foot to lower elevation in winter. In Yosemite R. in the Canadian and Transition life zones. Occurs with the California quail in the lower Transition zone, as in Yosemite Valley.


CALIFORNIA QUAIL
CALIFORNIA QUAIL
CALIFORNIA QUAIL (Lophortyx calif ornicus): 9 1/2-11 in. Above grayish-brown; forehead tawny; top of head brown; feathers of belly edged with black giving scaled appearance; belly buff, with rusty patch in middle; sides brown, with whitish streaks; bib of black with white border; plume black tipping forward toward bill. Female: Lacks black bib and is generally duller; plume smaller. California state bird. As with mountain quail, birds gather in covies.

Favors brushland broken by tracts of grass or weedy ground. Found at lower elevations in the Yosemite region, in the Upper Sonoran life zone and occasionally in the lower Transition life zone, as in Yosemite Valley.



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