Winter feeding habits of quail in longleaf-slash pine habitat

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U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, 1979 - Birds - 39 pages
Crops of bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) collected in 11 years in the longleaf-slash pine forest type were examined for food content. Seeds of woody plants made up 45% or more of the volume of food found in crops in 9 of the 11 winters. Seeds of pines, drupes of red bay, and acorns from various oaks were large-volume food items in certain years. As a group, seeds produced by legumes were the next largest in volume, varying from 2 to 48% in the 11 winters. Seeds of partridge peas, common lespedeza, bush clovers, milkpeas, and tick-clovers were important species. Volumes of seeds of grass, spurge, and sedge families were usually less than 12% for each group, and volumes of green leaves and animal matter less than 5% each. Panic and paspalums were principal grass species. Availability of seeds influenced consumption by forest-dwelling quail. In habitat management for quail, a variety of trees and shrubs should be maintained in the forest type to better insure a dependable food base, season to season and year to year. Similarly, desirable herbaceous food plants should be encouraged by fire and mechanical means.

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