Gambel's Quail

Quail Info The Quail Sanctuary of Ahwatukee Foothills

Quail chicks resemble tiny baby chickens and newly hatched quail are about the size of bumblebees. They're covered in a golden tan down with black or dark brown stripes down the back.  They are a precocial bird which means they leavethe nest after hatching to follow the parents. They peck for food on their own. They need to be kept in warmer temperaturesthan other orphaned birds. Finely chopped hard boiled egg, alfalfa sprouts or broccoli florets (also finely chopped) are temporary foods. Quail will also peck at turkey or game bird starter from a feed store, and tiny mealworms. 

Do not handle the chick or let children play with it. It's extremely fragile and needs to be kept in safe, covered containment and on a heat source until taken to a rehabilitator.Quail rehabbers have incubators so the babies are kept warm and cozy.

Call Arizona Covey at 602-996-1934
to find the nearest quail rehabber by you.

When finding a lone quail chick(s), do not put it with any quail family you see; if it's not the right family, the chick will get pecked and possibly killed.

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Adult Male Gambel's Quail

male and female Gambel's quail

Killdeer and Stilts

Killdeer and Stilt chicks have long legs, and brown and white downy bodies. Like quail, they need extra warmth.

They also need extra calcium in their diet or they will develop bone problems. They can eat tiny mealworms or blood worms from a pet store. Similar in size and color, Stilts have a long, sharp beak and mottled colors.  Killdeer have shorter beaks and distinct markings.

Healthy killdeer chicks should be taken back to the location where they were found to see if the parents are still in the area. Cup the baby securely in your hands and let him call for the parents; if they are nearby, they will come up scolding and frantic to get the baby back.  

if the adult birds don't show much or any interest, the baby needs to be taken to a rehabilitator. Other killdeer parents will often accept a chick that is not their own if they have other chicks the same size.
Call Arizona Covey at 602-996-1934 for more killdeer information.

Young killdeer leave the nest soon after hatching
and feed themselves but are tended to by the parents.

Poorwills and Nighthawks


POORWILLS a.k.a "Nightjars" resemble owls and many rescue calls concerning an injured owl is actually a poorwill that is resting during the day. Always ask if the bird is sitting in a vertical position or horizontal.

Screech Owl

This Screech Owl, like all owls, has a vertical stance compared to the horizontal stance of Nightjars and Poorwills.

Nightjar Poorwill
Nightjars/Poorwills have a bark-like appearance to their feathers and their bodies stand horizontally.  They're often mistaken for owls.

For Poorwills, call
Wild Wing Rehab at 480-839-6660

Poorwills have a huge, frog-like mouth that can be intimidating but their bite is only as hard as two butterfly wings coming together.

They are obligate insectivore...that means they eat nothing but insects. Dip mealworms, crickets, moths in avian vitamins and plain yogurt to feed them. This takes incredible patience as they spit out almost everything.

LESSER NIGHTHAWKS are commonly confused with Poorwills.  The Nighthawk spends the day resting on a perch or nesting on the ground; during the late afternoon it begins to swoop like a slow swallow catching flying insects with its wide mouth.

Baby Nighthawk
Call Wild Wing at 480-893-66608/


THE WHITE-THROATED SWIFT is the most common swift in the western U.S, and reputedly the fastest flyer (150+ mph!) of all birds in North America.

Some of the Eurasian spine-tailed swifts reportedly can exceed 200 mph! Their cigar-shaped bodies end in a short tail, which is not a very efficient rudder, so swifts steer by slightly alternating their wing beats.  Commonly found in mountainous areas, canyons and cliffs.  You may also find these acrobats nesting near highway overpasses.

Call Wild Wing at 480-893-6660 or
Liberty Wildlife at 480-998-5550
Last updated November 1, 2022