Common Quail

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Scientific name: Coturnix coturnix

Other common names: European quail; Coturnix Quail; African Quail

The basics:
The wild Common Quail is a long-winged, migratory bird that is heavily hunted in the Mediterranean region. Like other Coturnix quail, it is a grassland species that nests on the ground. As a result, it has faced some challenges, but it currently continues to be a widespread and successful bird with an estimated five or six subspecies. The domesticated birds are raised for meat and eggs, and they may be seen on the menu of many high-end restaurants.

The Common Quail is a small, chubby streaky brown bird with a noticeable white “eyebrow,” similar to its close relative, the Japanese Quail. However, the adult male Common Quail possesses a thin black “chin” under his bill.

Average weight:
100 - 160 grams (3.5 - 5.6 oz.)

1 - 3 years

You can potentially double the life of your female Common Quail if you allow her to rest during the winter from constantly laying eggs, which does take a toll on her body. In an indoor bird room, put timers on the lights, so that there are increasing hours of darkness in the winter, which naturally discourages laying.

Behavior / temperament:
Like other quail, they are subject to imprinting, and a baby Common Quail raised by a human will follow that person around like a pet. While this species is tolerant of non-competing birds, both males and females are capable of attacking a rival of their own species, so provide plenty of space and cover in any situation where it's more than one pair to a territory. They have a surprisingly loud crow for a bird of this size, so be prepared. They have occasionally been recommended as apartment birds for people who have little space for poultry, but you had better have great sound-proofing if you expect to get away with it.

Common Quail can be acclimated to live in an outdoor aviary with sufficient shelter from extremes of heat and cold. However, like all quail, the males can be territorial, and breeders often recommend a minimum of 16 square feet of floor space for each pair of quail. Adult males cannot usually be kept together without fighting, and an over-enthusiastic male can also be a real nuisance to his mate, so some breeders have had success by keeping three or more females with each male. In this way, a male can't harass a single female to the point of ill health.

Like other Coturnix Quail, Common Quail have a bad habit of lifting off straight up like a helicopter when they're startled. To prevent them from hitting themselves too hard on the head, most breeders place netting or another soft barrier below the ceiling, as a sort of “false roof” to slow the birds down. They also benefit from plants in the aviary or cage, to give them more cover and a greater feeling of security. Aspen bedding is often recommended as a safer alternative to pine or corn cob bedding, if you are cage-breeding mutations in an indoor birdroom.

Common Quail are remarkably easy to feed as long as you make sure that these ground-feeding birds have easy access to food and waterers on the floor. The backbone of the diet is usually a non-medicated commercial gamebird starter, which the birds can eat their entire lives, not just as babies. Don't ever consider feeding them on starter crumbles meant for chickens, since the balance of medications, calcium, and protein in chicken feed is all wrong for these quail. However, this species has also been successfully maintained on unmedicated turkey crumbles, if for some reason you don't have the gamebird starter You can easily supplement the diet with a chopped salad of apples, greens, carrot, broccoli florets, and sprouted seed, and you may offer them some tiny mealworms or other small insects as well. They should have access to a grit that includes crushed oyster shell or another form of calcium.

Written by Elaine Radford


meat production, great egg layers, pure Texas A&M, extremely high hatching


loud, major feed eaters, water multiple times, tiny eggs


classic game bird, pheasant rearing pens, dining establishments

Common Quail Behavior Tip

Common Quail

From Mush_rooms Jan 5 2016 10:46PM


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