The northern bobwhite quail is an iconic species for many reasons. Depending on who you talk to, you may hear bobwhite referred to as a game bird, an indicator or an umbrella species, or a species of conservation concern.
Deterioration and fragmentation of bobwhite habitat are the primary causes of the bobwhite decline throughout the United States. Fragmentation is the process in which habitat elimination separates or isolates remaining areas of habitat. Recent scientific information indicates quail populations may need enough contiguous habitat to support at least 800 quail to prevent localized extinction over the long term. The area required to support 800 quail probably ranges from 800 to 8,000 acres, depending upon the quality of the habitat.