Quail | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

Quail | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

Quail Overview


Quails are small, plump birds with rounded bodies. They typically have brown or mottled feathers that help them blend into their surroundings. Quail head is adorned with a distinctive plume or crest, and they have short, stout beaks.

Quails are known for their delicate, intricate patterns of markings on their plumage. These birds have sturdy legs that are adapted for ground-dwelling and scratching for food.

Origins And Evolution

Quails are believed to have originated around 30 million years ago during the Miocene epoch. Their evolutionary lineage traces back to a group of birds known as Phasianidae, which includes pheasants and partridges. Fossil evidence suggests that early quail-like birds appeared in Eurasia and North America.

Over time, quails adapted to various habitats, diversifying into different species. Their evolution was influenced by environmental changes, leading to distinct characteristics such as cryptic plumage for camouflage, ground-dwelling behavior, and omnivorous diets.

Quails also underwent geographic speciation, with species like the California quail in North America and the Japanese quail in Asia. Human activities, including domestication for food and sport, have further shaped the diversity and distribution of quail species.

Today, quails are distributed worldwide, inhabiting a range of ecosystems from grasslands to forests, demonstrating the success of their evolutionary adaptations.

Behavior and Lifestyle

Quails are primarily ground-dwelling birds known for their social behavior. They often form coveys, small flocks composed of several individuals, which provide safety in numbers. These birds are generally diurnal, being most active during the day.

Their lifestyle involves foraging on a varied diet, including seeds, insects, and vegetation, which they scratch for using their strong legs. Quails prefer to evade predators by running rather than flying, reserving flight as a last resort.

Quail Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Galliformes
  • Family: Phasianidae
  • Subfamily: Odontophorinae (for New World quails) or Phasianinae (for Old World quails)

Quail Locations

  • North America
  • South America
  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Middle East
  • Central America
  • Pacific Islands

Fast Facts

  • Name: Quail
  • Scientific Name: Coturnix coturnix
  • Habitat: Grasslands, Farmlands
  • Diet: Omnivorous, Seeds
  • Physical Features: Compact, Plumage
  • Nocturnal: No, Diurnal
  • Solitary: Social, Covey-forming
  • Unique Order: Galliformes, Phasianidae
  • Lifespan: 2-3 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Fun Facts: Ground-nesting, Precocial Chicks

Physical Characteristics

  • Color: Mottled brown
  • Skin Type: Feather-covered
  • Top Speed: 10 mph
  • Lifespan: 2-3 years
  • Weight: Lightweight
  • Length: 6-10 inches
  • Age of Sexual Maturity: 6-8 weeks
  • Age of Weaning: N/A (precocial young)

Quail FAQs

What is a quail?

Quail is a small bird belonging to the family Phasianidae, known for its ground-dwelling behavior and distinctive plumage.

What do quails eat?

Quails are omnivorous, consuming a diet that includes seeds, insects, vegetation, and occasionally small invertebrates.

How long do quails live?

In the wild, quails typically have a lifespan of 2 to 3 years, while in captivity, they can live longer.

Are quails social birds?

Yes, quails are social birds and often form coveys, small flocks that provide safety in numbers.


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