The Common Quail

The Common Quail

The Common Quail

Brief Background

The Common Quail is known in Ornithology as Coturnix coturnix. This study will cover all the necessary parts of Ornithology in order to have a better view concerning this bird.

Appearance and Behaviour

Length: 17 cm (7 inches); Wing: 100-118mm (4-5 inches). Wingspan: 34 cm (13 inches). Tail: 32-42 mm (13-16 inches). Beak: 12 mm (5 inches). Weight: 80-125 grammes.


Adults: dark brown crown separated by a yellowish stripe; for males brown chin and brown double half collar; dorsal part of the body and the tail are pale brown with yellowish shades; the abdominal part of the body gets clearer and more united in colour; the sides of the body are tinted with ocher yellow, all lit with white “flames”; grayish beak; pale brown eyes and sometimes turn ginger; pink paws.

Female of the Common quail

With its 17 cm in length, its oval body ending with short tip tail, its small round head carried by short neck and its two short legs, when we see the common quail from afar we quickly consider it as one of the smallest gallinaceous animals in the world.

This bird has a light brown livery delicately tinged with yellowish, dark brown and ocher lightened by multiple white streaks, the two birds possess the colors of earth and stubble.

The Common quail's voice sample

Less accentuated, the sexual dimorphism relates to the slightly duller outfit of the female and to the brown chin of the male surmounting its two half collars of the same shade.

Alerted, the common quail huddles against the ground and takes flight only in immediate danger. Swiftly flapping its short, round wings, it dashes straight ahead, a few meters, at most, above the ground. If absolutely necessary, it can mark sudden deviations from the trajectory; these fright flights are short distances.


The Common Quail feasts on the tiny seeds of wild plants that humans are determined to destroy with a great deal of herbicides. In summer, many insects, spiders and other small invertebrates complete this menu.

Common quail‘s eggs


As soon as returned and installed, the male pushes his tirade all day long, in order to attract a female to its territory. Common quails can live in isolated pairs; males also like to mate with several females, and females accept to be fertilized by more than one gallant.

The female accepts also and alone the construction of the nest. Very well camouflaged in cereals or grasses, it is a small bowl scraped into the ground then padded with herbs.

The female lays around 7-14 eggs between late May and early July. The eggs have yellow background tinged with pale brown and more or less smeared with black and dark brown. Medium size of the egg: 23 x 30 mm (9 x 12 inches); weight: 7 g.

Regarding the incubation, in which the male loses interest completely, lasts about 17 days. After hatching, the mother leads the chicks to protect them and teach them how to find food. At the age of 3 weeks the flying is almost acquired, the complete independence of the young birds intervening at 1 month. There could be two broods per year.


In August and even late in September, the common quails move south. A few birds stop off in North Africa (Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco), the majority of migrants cross the large Sahara to winter in the savannas bordering the great desert.


The common quail breeds from the Iberian Peninsula south of the Baltic and South of Great Britain to Mongolia and North Africa. We can find other subspecies in East Africa and from the Cape Verde Islands and in some islands in the Indian Ocean.

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A final word

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