Typical Old World quail

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File:Harlequin Quail.png
Harlequin Quail, C. delegorguei
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Superorder: Galloanserae
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Subfamily: Pavoninae
Tribe: Tetraogallini
Genus: Coturnix
Garsault, 1764

See text.

Coturnix is a genus of six 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.

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
Rain Quail
(Coturnix coromandelica)
Harlequin Quail
(Coturnix delegorguei)
Common Quail
(Coturnix coturnix)
Canary Islands Quail
(Coturnix gomerae) (fossil)
Japanese Quail
(Coturnix japonica)
New Zealand Quail
(Coturnix novaezelandiae)
Stubble Quail
(Coturnix pectoralis)

The King Quail and Blue Quail; and the Brown Quail were formerly placed in Coturnix, have been moved to the genus Excalfactoria and Synoicus, respectfully.

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*

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