Stubble Quail

Three main calls. A loud, whistled and clear “two-to-weep" is heard persistently on moonlit nights soon after a nest is built. Also a loud, often repeated two-note call, described as a loud and sharp “to-weep”. Emits chirps, given when flushed.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
Minimum Size: 
Maximum Size: 
Average size: 
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Breeding season: 
August to April
Clutch Size: 
5 to 14
21 days
Conservation Status
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Atlas Number: 
What does it look like?

The Stubble Quail Is a large, plump quail with grey-brown streaked upper-parts  and a cream underside. The male has an orange-buff area on its lower face and throat, where the female is cream. The male is dark  on the front below the orange-buff throat. This quail has a dark grey bill and pale pink legs and feet. The female is larger than the male. It is also called a Grey or Pectoral Quail.

Similar species: 

The Stubble Quail is similar to the Brown Quail, C. ypsilophora, which is a darker brown with orange-yellow legs and feet and lacks the orange-buff face patch. In flight the Stubble Quail could be confused with the Little Button-quail, Turnix velox, which is much smaller, more compact and a rufous-brown or pinkish on its upper body.  The Little Button-quail, also utters a three syllable alarm call when flushed.

Where does it live?

The Stubble Quail is found over much of south-eastern and south-western Australia. In Queensland it is mostly found in the south-east of the state, while it is  found across all of  New South Wales and Victoria. It used to be found in Tasmania but is now rare there. In South Australia it is most common south of 19*S and westwards to Streaky Bay. It is also found in the Cooper Creek basin and in the south-west of Western Australia. It is rare in the rest of Western Australia and in the Northern Territory.


The Stubble Quail lives in the grasslands and shrublands of temperate regions, usually in well-watered areas, but will  move into arid areas after floods or rain. It prefers tall, dense vegetation, especially grasslands, but will use lower vegetation. 

Seasonal movements: 

Some Stubble Quail populations stay in much the same area all year round, but most move around widely, apparently in response to factors like rainfall, growth of vegetation and availability of food.

What does it do?

Stubble Quail mainly eat different types of seeds or grain. They feed during the day when they scratch around on the ground for seeds, grasses and foliage. They have also been seen to climb wheat stalks to pick grain from the heads.


Breeding  is  influenced by rainfall, cover and food availability. They can breed any time of the year. They have been known to move into an area after rain breaks a drought and breed in huge numbers with up to four clutches of chicks. The build their nests on the ground often in areas such as grasslands, paddocks of cereal crops, especially ones with undergrowth, and under small shrubs.  The nest is a scrape in the ground lined with dried grass or pieces of nearby vegetation. Only the female sits on the eggs and she will pull surrounding vegetation over the nest as a cover at this stage. The chicks are led away from the nest almost straight away after hatching, and are fairly independent.

Living with us

Land clearing, irrigation, logging and development of pasture have increased available habitat and introduced plants, such as cereals, have increased availability of food. The range and population size of Stubble Quail have increased. Intensively cultivated and grazed land does not suit them and nor do mature stands of pine plantations. Some nesting birds are killed in crops by mowing and harvesting machines.

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