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Photo Essay: The Mearns’ Quail, a Southwestern Beauty

Dave Brown 9

The male Mearns’ is a gorgeous bird.

all photos courtesy Dave Brown

One of the most beautiful game birds to be found in North America is the Mearns’ quail. Although there is a small population in West Texas, only Arizona and New Mexico have huntable populations. The range is limited to the Davis Mountains of Texas, the southeastern corner of Arizona and the southwestern corner of New Mexico, then south into Mexico. Unlike its two desert-dwelling cousins—the Gambel’s and scaled (or blue) quail—Mearns’ quail are generally found above 4,000 feet in the oak-lined canyons of the area’s sky islands or mountain ranges that make up the. . .