Brown Quail

Did you know?

A group of quails is called a covey.

Calls
Double-noted, ascending whistle: 'pi-pieer'; also sharp alarm chirp.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
17cm
Maximum Size: 
20cm
Average size: 
18cm
Average weight: 
91g
Breeding season: 
August to May, but can vary.
Clutch Size: 
7 to 10 eggs
Incubation: 
14 days
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NSW: 
NT: 
QLD: 
TAS: 
VIC: 
WA: 
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Atlas Number: 
11
What does it look like?
Description: 

The Brown Quail is a small, plump ground-dwelling bird. It is variable in colour, ranging from red brown to grey brown with fine white streaks and black barring above, and chestnut brown below. The eye is red to yellow, the bill black and the legs and feet orange-yellow. In Tasmania, this species is called the Swamp Quail and tends to be larger and darker than mainland birds, with a pale yellow eye. Female Brown Quails are larger and may be more heavily marked with black and paler below than males. Young birds are like adult females, with less distinct markings and a dark brown eye. Quails rarely fly, preferring to hide unless an intruder flushes them; then they fly low to the ground, with a rapid whirring flight.

Similar species: 

The similar Stubble Quail, C. pectoralis, is paler brown with a pale to white eyebrow and males have a distinctive chestnut brown throat patch while females have a creamy, flecked throat patch. In flight, the Brown Quail has dark flanks and plain upperparts, where other quails have pale flanks and more patterned upperparts.`The Brown Quail prefers dense grasslands, often on the edges of open forests, and bracken. May sometimes be seen alongside roads.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

The Brown Quail is found across northern and eastern Australia, from the Kimberley region in Western Australia to Victoria and Tasmania, as well as in south-western Australia. It is also found in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, and has been introduced to New Zealand.

Habitat: 

The Brown Quail prefers dense grasslands, often on the edges of open forests, and bracken. May sometimes be seen alongside roads.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

The Brown Quail feeds in the early morning or evening, on the ground, mainly on seeds and green shoots, but also on insects. In some area, quails will readily cross roads and may be seen feeding along roadsides.

Breeding: 

The Brown Quail's well-hidden nest is a scrape in the ground, lined with grass, hidden in thick grasses under overhanging vegetation not far from water. Both sexes incubate the eggs. Young Brown Quails leave the nest straight after they hatch.

Living with us

The Brown Quail may sometimes be hunted, depending on each state's hunting season licencing regulations.

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