California Quail

Scientific: Callipepla californica
Spanish: Codorniz de California
Mutsun: Heksen

Diet: Seeds, leaves and small insects
Habitat: Coastal sagebrush, chaparral, foothills, woodland
California Status: Least Concern

California’s State Bird
California quail are hardy and adaptable birds found throughout the state. They scratch at the ground foraging for seeds, keeping close to cover in case predators approach. Quail are hunted by Native people for food and for their feathers which can be used to decorate baskets. 

California Kingsnake

Scientific: Lampropletis californiae
Spanish: Serpiente rey de California

Diet: Small mammals, other snakes
Habitat: Forests, woodlands, chaparral, coastal sage scrub
Status: Least Concern

A Royal Snake
Kingsnakes of many colors and patterns can be found throughout the country. The Museum’s resident live snake has a brown and white pattern, typical of kingsnakes from coastal California, and is called “Chocolate Phase”. 

Can you guess how the kingsnake got its name?
Snakes in the genus Lampropletis are called the “kings of snakes” because they eat other snakes. Kingsnakes will eat any kind of snake, including rattlesnakes, whose venom they are resistant to.


Resilient and Diverse 

Derived from chaparro, given by Spanish colonists describing its shrubby nature, chaparral ecosystems are composed of a variety of evergreen shrubs. Chaparral plants are often adapted to drought and fire, and respond well to periodic disturbance. 

Do you know of ways that plants are adapted to wildfire?

Locally, chaparral can be found on sunny slopes all across the Santa Cruz mountains. There are maritime chaparral and mixed chaparral, distinguished by dominant plants, elevation, and exposure to fog. 

A unique chaparral habitat found only in Santa Cruz County, the sandhills are home to several rare and endangered plants and animals. Found only on soil formed by ancient sea beds, close to half of their range has been lost to mining and development. 

Learn More

Visit Local Chaparral Habitats