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Quail

Common Quail Quail Both Sexes
Tiny, yellow-brown streaked bird.
Distribution map - when and where you are most likely to see the species.
Coturnix coturnix
Length: 16-18 cm (6¼-7")
Wing Span: 32-35 cm (12½-14")
Weight: 70-135g (2½-4¾ oz)
Breeding Pairs: 300
Present: Summer
Status: Amber

Description

Quails are very small and elusive and are usually heard rather than seen.

The plumage is buff-brown with darker brown markings on the back and wings. The head is darker with a buff streak on the crown and above each eye. The bill is grey and the legs are flesh-coloured.

The male has a dark central stripe and two curved band sat the throat.

The breast of the female is spotted and the throat is paler.

Juveniles are similar to the female.

Voice

Choose from Quicktime and mp3. Song
  Quicktime mp3

The song, which is heard mainly at dawn and dusk, is unmistakable and is most easily remembered by the phrase "wet my lips".

Feeding

Quail feed on the seeds of plants, such as poppy, wheat and barley, and less often insects and larvae of ants, beetles, etc.

Nesting

The Quail nests on the ground, often in fields of clover or corn. The female makes a hollow in the ground, but with dense cover, and lines it with plant material.

The eggs, which are about 30 mm by 23 mm, are smooth and non-glossy, and whitish to yellow with heavily spotted and blotched with brown. The hen alone incubates the eggs. The precocial nestlings are able to feed themselves, but their mother continues to care for them.

The young birds can fly after about 19 days, but the brood stay together for up to 50 days.

Breeding Data
Breeding Starts Number of Clutches Number of Eggs Incubation (days) Fledge (days)
April-June 1-2 7-12 16-21 c. 19

Movements

The Quail is a summer visitor from central Africa, south of the Sahara Desert.

Conservation

The Quail population dwindled owing to changes in farming practices in Britain, drought in its wintering grounds and hunting during its migration through southern European countries, but in the last 25 years the population has more than doubled. Consequently, it is an Amber List species.

My Garden

Quail have not been seen or heard in my neighbourhood.


Last revision: 21 Feb 2015
Copyright © David Gains 1999-2017.
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