Holding a scaled quail.

Diet and Associations with Parasite Infections of Scaled Quail in the Trans-Pecos, Texas

Zoe Carroll, Ryan O’Shaughnessy, Dale Rollins, and Ryan Luna

While the Trans-Pecos region of Texas is home to four species of quail, the scaled quail (Callipepla squamata) is one of the most significant quail species in the region ecologically and economically. Despite this, research is limited regarding diet and parasite aspects of its life history. This project sought to investigate three aspects of scaled quail life history on a Trans-Pecos region-wide scale, including determining primary foods throughout the year, examining diet selection that is related to supplemental feeding, and identifying if associations exist between diet and eyeworm (Oxyspirura petrowi) and cecal worm (Aulonocephalus pennula) infections.

Quail were harvested year-round from sites across the Trans-Pecos. Crop contents from the quail were sorted, weighed, and identified in order to make determinations about primary foods and diet selection and supplemental feeding in quail. Eyeworms and cecal worms were removed from samples and counted to determine overall prevalence and to determine if any relationships exist between diet and parasite infections.

The information collected will inform researchers on primary components of quail diet, possible diet shifts due to supplemental feeding, and if there are any relationships between diet and parasite infections. The conclusions from this project will be used in order to better understand quail life history and population declines in Texas.

Funding source: Park Cities Quail Coalition, San Antonio Quail Coalition, Houston Quail Coalition.