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White Bobwhite Quail



The White Bobwhite, is a mutation of the Northern Bobwhite. The Males and the females are extremely difficult to sex, as they look so much alike. The only difference between them is that the males have a larger head than the female. They form large groups during the winter called coveys. These coveys can consist of up to 30 or more birds and when disturbed, all will burst into flight at once.

A rarer subspecies, the Masked Bobwhite, is native to the Southwest. They are popular with breeders in captivity, but remain on the Endangered Species List in the wild. These birds are similar to the eastern race, but males have a very dark face & throat. They also appear darker overall.

The further south you travel into Mexico, the Bobwhite subspecies differ a great deal from the northern counterparts. Many have much more white on the throats and a more detailed barring on the breast. It is a shame that some of these races have yet to make their way to our aviaries, as they are beautiful birds. Perhaps in the future, some may make their way and become established in captivity.



Bobwhites present no problems in captive rearing, and can be produced easily in small or large aviaries. Many producers house their breeders in breeding batteries, some as small as 1'x1'x1' and keep them in trios or pairs. You can choose to colony mate (several hens with two or three males), trios (one male with two hens) or in pairs.

Bobwhite hens begin laying in mid April and may lay all summer long. The eggs are pure white and are incubated for 21 days. You will probably have to use artificial incubation with this species, as many captive hens are mass producers of eggs are highly unlikely to go broody in a cage setting.


General Comments:

As mentioned, Bobwhites are easy to keep and raise. They are often one of the first species of quail for the beginning quail breeder and many long-time breeders keep them around for the male's call. Like many other species of quail, they seem to do best on wire, but can be kept on the ground if the aviary is well-drained.

During the Winter, birds that are not kept indoors such as a barn, should be grouped together so they can form natural coveys for warmth. I also recommend keeping dry straw or hay in the cage during the Winter.

Bobwhite should be fed a good quality game bird ration of at least 16% protein during the non-breeding season to 20% during the laying period.


There have been a number of mutations developed in captivity. Some of the popular colors include the Mexican Speckled, the Tennessee Red, White, Blonde, and Silver Bobwhites. There are also strains developed for their large size, such as the Wisconsin Jumbo and the Indiana Giant.



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White Bobwhite Pair

White Bobwhite Pair

White Bobwhite Cubby

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