Common Name

Scientific Name

View Utah Distribution Map

Photo by Reed M. Killpack
Photo Copyright Reed M. Killpack

The scaled quail or cotton top, Callipepla squamata, is probably not established in Utah. The species was reported in western Box Elder County in the 1960s, with the individuals in question most likely moving into Utah after they were introduced in northeastern Nevada. Those individuals, however, apparently died out without establishing a viable population in northwestern Utah. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has received several reports of scaled quail in southeastern Utah, but it is unknown if those birds are naturally occurring or if they are recently released captive birds.

The scaled quail naturally occurs in the southwestern United States and Mexico, where it thrives in deserts and arid grasslands. The species eats primarily seeds and insects. Eggs are laid throughout the spring and summer, with each clutch taking about three weeks to hatch. Average clutch size is twelve.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.