Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Arizona
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Arizona Project

Cultural Surveys of the Masked Bobwhite Quail in Central Sonora

June 2009 - July 2010


Participating Agencies

  • Quick Response

The Masked Bobwhite Quail (MBW, Colinus virginianus ridgwayi), known only known from Central Sonora and the Altar Valley in southern Arizona, is on the verge of extinction in the wild. Biologists from the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge and Mexican colleagues have been leading efforts to document the existence and status of MBW in the historic population center near Rancho El Carrizo south of Benjam�n Hill, Sonora in the Plains of Sonora subdivision of the Sonoran Desert (Shreve, 1964). There has been a dramatic population decline since the early 1990s, and current low-level populations are very difficult to census. The decision has been made to concentrate all MBW conservation efforts for the next two years in Sonora. Considering the difficulty of census and its emergency status, we propose a supplementary approach in hopes of locating other MBW populations in Sonora through interviews of rural residents. Discovery of any additional populations will supplement planned FWS activities and would greatly improve efforts to prevent its extinction. To locate new MBW populations by interviewing rural residents (ranchers, cowboys, etc.) in a large area centered on the existing MBW population in Rancho El Carrizo in central Sonora. Locating additional MBW populations will help guide FWS management activities.