Survival and Dispersal of California Valley Quail Translocated to Texas

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ag Science and Natural Resources

Date of Award

Fall 2020


Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) populations in northeast Texas have been declining for >50 years. As a result, quail hunter numbers have also declined. For remedy, landowners have historically released captive-reared bobwhites or wild translocated bobwhites with little to no success. Recently, California valley quail (Callipepla californica) have been translocated from Idaho to Texas. This is the first documented translocation of wild valley quail to Texas. The goal of this study was to evaluate survival, dispersal, and roost preferences of the translocated quail. There were 248 quail translocated in 2019 and 500 in 2020. At 6 weeks post release there was a maximum survival of 63% for VHF transmitters in 2019, 38.8% for VHF in 2020, and 58.9% for digital tags in 2020. Survival was greater in birds with digital tags (0.001 < P < 0.01). The median dispersal distance for birds with VHF transmitters was 633.5 m in 2019, 246.6 m in 2020, and 310.4 m for 2020 birds with digital tags. Dispersal was greater in 2019 than 2020 (P < 0.001). Minimum convex polygon (MCP) area medians for VHF transmitters were 4.3 ha in 2019 and 3.1 ha in 2020. Digital tags had a median MCP of 16.1 ha. A total of 27 roost sites were documented, the majority of which were in young stands of oak trees. It is recommended that future studies use grazing, prescribed burns, or discing to increase usable habitat for translocated quail. Future studies should also consider translocations to different areas of Texas that better resemble conditions that were present in Idaho where the translocated quail originated.


Kelly Reyna

Subject Categories

Agriculture | Animal Sciences | Life Sciences