Great Basin Naturalist


This study was designed to describe dietary changes by comparison of information on long-term diet and plant food availability of California Quail (Callipepla californica) in western Oregon. We examined crops from 222 California Quail collected in 1976–78 and 1985–87. Diets included 14 key plant foods (annual frequency > 15%) among 53 taxa consumed; 10 of the 14 key foods were similar between time periods. Collectively, key foods contributed 87% of the diet by aggregate dry mass during 1985–87; six species of legumes (family Leguminosae) composed 67% of diet. Relative rankings of availabilities of key foods were similar between 1976–78 and 1985–87. This study revealed that quail were opportunistic within the group of key foods because 9 of the 14 key foods were consumed in different frequencies between the two periods. Legumes were an important dietary component in western Oregon because they composed the bulk of the diet, were among the most frequently consumed, and most were taken in substantially greater proportions than available.