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Information About Quails

The quail is part of the pheasant, partridge and dove family and a distant relative to the grouse. They have many different species across the globe, all of which have contrasting habitats, appearance and individual behaviour. These small, plump birds are hunted for both their meat and their brightly coloured eggs, which are seen as a delicacy in certain parts of the world and, as such, are often found on the menus of upper class restaurants and establishments.

Quails are spread all around the world. While most of the species of the New World are found in the United States, others have their habitat in Central America, South America and different parts of Asia.
There is some fascinating information on quails that includes the fact that they all nest on the ground and choose to run rather than fly, despite having the ability to do so, even if they are restricted to short bursts. The majority of the species eat seeds, berries, roots, leaves, insects and flowers; certain types also tuck into worms and other very small animals.

As far as reproduction is concerned, it is different for each species. There is a lot of pressure that quails receive from the predators. That is why less than a half of the nests successfully hatch. The most common predators are snakes, raccoons, weasles, squirrels, foxes, coyotes, dogs, cats, hogs, turkeys, hawks, owls, but also humans.

The birds are generally regarded as being a little reclusive, spending their time either alone or with just one other quail, although during the mating season they do converge in very large groups known as coveys for a short period of time. An interesting observation about quails, or at least certain members of the species, is that they do not tend to migrate: the Gambel from Mexico, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado is a perfect example. This means that they spend their lives within the same group, in more or less the same area, although in truth their life expectancy is not excessive, with the average barely making it to the age of one.

The most recognisable feature when comparing quails is the colour, as they vary so much. Browns, yellows, greys and whites are the most common, but there are also some vivid reds and blues amongst them and the feathers of these are often used as quills. Some quails have a colourful head plume, whilst others have heel spurs, there really are some significant differences between species. Size wise, they can range from the speckled Japanese bird which is little over 10cm in height to the much larger Mountain quail at 25cm.

Amongst the other various species of quail are the Painted Brush with their red beaks and legs natives of the Indian forests, the Ruddy of similar colouration but from Central and South America, the Australian wetland Browns and the Montezuma short tail. The Scaled quail have light brown legs and beaks and can be found in certain US states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Utah, Arizona and Colorado. However, the top hunted species of quail are the already mentioned Gambel and Mountain, plus the Button, California and the most common quail of them all - the Bobwhite with its classic appearance of a combination of black and sandy colours.

Hunting quails can be done either with a partner, either with the help of bird dogs, especially trained to find the quails by their smell. Quail hunting does not require wearing camouflage. However, as it involves shooting, safety should always be on the first place. For more information about what you need to know when going quail hunting, check out our Quail Hunting Tips section.

Did you know that there are around 15 species of quails around the world? Although they are small birds, they belong to the same family as pheasants. Also, they can be raised in farms, besides their natural wildlife habitat. If you want to find out more interesting facts about each species, go to our Quail Facts page.