Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cool Animal Sounds: Bobwhite

The Northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) is a species whose common name comes from its distinctive call, which sounds a lot like the bird is saying "bob-bob-white!" The first time I heard someone describe the bird, I didn't believe them. Then I heard the call for myself. Though the "bob-white" call is the best known, these birds are actually quite vocal and use a number of other calls more frequently. Though the bird is also sometimes referred to as the Virginia quail, the numerous subspecies actually have a far wider range than just Virginia. They are found all the way from Canada to Central America, as well as in Washington and Cuba. However, the populations in both Washington and Cuba were introduced. This species is currently Near Threatened, with at least one subspecies considered Endangered by the U.S. Government. The species is a major game bird, as well as prey for quite a number of predators. The birds are also amazingly well studied, including their use as captive laboratory animals in studying the affects of pesticides and other factors on wildlife.

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