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Excalfactoria chinensis (aka).jpg
King quail
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Subfamily: Perdicinae
Genus: Coturnix
Garsault, 1764

See text.

Coturnix is a genus of eight extant species and two known extinct species of Old World quail. The genus name is the Latin for the common quail.[1]

The quails are related to the francolins, jungle bush quail, snowcocks and rock partridges. Species of Coturnix and the aforementioned genera belong to their own monophyletic clade, Coturnicinae, a subfamily within the family Phasianidae. Some authors consider this clade, together with a sibling assemblage, the Gallininae (including the junglefowl, long-billed partridge and Chinese bamboo partridge) warrants classification in its own family, Coturnigallusinidae.

Quail of Coturnix live in pairs or small social groups and form larger groups during migration. Not all species migrate, but most are capable of extremely rapid, upward flight to escape from danger. Unlike related genera, Old World quail do not perch in trees. They devote much of their time to scratching and foraging for seeds and invertebrates on the ground. Typical habitats are dense vegetation such as grasslands, bushes alongside rivers and cereal fields. They are predated upon heavily by the diurnal hawks.


Quail species
Common and binomial names Image Description Range
Blue quail
(Coturnix adansonii)
King quail
(Coturnix chinensis)
Excalfactoria chinensis (aka).jpg
Rain quail
(Coturnix coromandelica)
Coturnix coromandelica.jpg
Harlequin quail
(Coturnix delegorguei)
Coturnix delegorguei.jpg
Common quail
(Coturnix coturnix)
Coturnix coturnix (Warsaw zoo)-1.JPG
Canary Islands quail
(Coturnix gomerae) (fossil)
Coturnix gomerae limb bones.JPG
Japanese quail
(Coturnix japonica)
Japanese Quail.jpg
New Zealand quail
(Coturnix novaezelandiae)
Coturnix novaezelandiae.jpg (extinct)
Stubble quail
(Coturnix pectoralis)
Coturnix pectoralis South Australia.jpg
Brown quail
(Coturnix ypsilophora)
Coturnix ypsilophora - granite island 2.jpg

A fossil species from the Late Oligocene - Late Miocene of SW and Central Europe was described as Coturnix gallica. Another, C. donnezani, was widespread in Early Pliocene to Early Pleistocene Europe.[2]


  1. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 120. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4. 
  2. ^ Mlíkovský (2002)


  • Mlíkovský, Jirí (2002a): Early Pleistocene birds of Stránská skála, Czech Republic: 2. Absolon's cave. Sylvia 38: 19-28 [English with Czech abstract]. PDF fulltext
  • The genetic link between the Chinese bamboo partridge (Bambusicola thoracica) and the chicken and junglefowls of the genus Gallus.A Fumihito, T Miyake, M Takada, S Ohno, and N KondoYamashina Institute for Ornithology, Chiba Prefecture, Japan.
  • Phylogenetic analysis of gallinaceous birds inferred from mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 gene sequences Wee Hui Kit Publisher: 2002.
  • A Molecular Phylogeny of the Pheasants and Partridges Suggests That These Lineages Are Not Monophyletic R. T. Kimball,* E. L. Braun,*,† P. W. Zwartjes,* T. M. Crowe,‡,§ and J. D. Ligon*

External links[edit]