Scaled Quail are rather common residents in the flat, open desert grasslands of the eastern portion of the Navajo Nation. They spend most of the day on the ground foraging for the seeds of various shrubs and grasses, but they also feed on leaves, fruits, and insects. Scaled quail typically live in flocks of up to 30 birds, and do not migrate during the spring and fall. This bird gets its name from the scale-like feather pattern on most of the body, but also has the nickname of 'cottontop' because of the white tuft of feathers on top of the head.

Quail are called "Déłdánii" in the Navajo language. The Quail is considered as a water bird, and their feathers are used as offerings in the Water Way ceremony.