Brown Quail Bird Species Information, Diet, Characteristics

Brown Quail Bird

The Brown Quail also goes by different names such silver quail, swamp quail or partridge quail in the different regions where it is found. It is a plump ground-dwelling bird with short rounded wings. Quails rarely fly. They prefer to hide in the undergrowth, and when flushed out by an intruder, they fly in short, low bursts, with a rapid whirring sound, seeking cover and hiding in the grass. In New Zealand, the Brown Quail is only about seven to eight inches long, while in Tasmania it is larger and darker. The bird’s color varies from a dusky grey brown back to reddish chestnut brown below. The back is also heavily freckled with black and rust brown markings.  They have fine white streaks since each feather has a thin white line down the middle. The bill is thick, short and black. Quails have eyes ranging from yellow to red, while the feet and legs are also orange-yellow. The female bird is bigger. Its belly is paler but the back is more heavily marked. The young bird is like the adult female, but its eyes are dark brown and the markings on its back and chest are less distinct.

The Brown Quail is found on the low lands along the seashore of eastern and northern, Western and south-western Australia. It is also found in Tasmania, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, and has been introduced to New Zealand and Fiji.

The Brown Quail is usually found wherever suitable breeding and feeding conditions are available, and where they can find places to hide. These would be dense wet grasslands near a brook or a bog, freshwater wetlands, shrub lands and even agricultural area. In fact, they have been often spotted and hunted in open pastures or in roadsides adjacent to farms. Brown Quail eat insects, green shoots, and seeds of grasses, fruits and vegetables. They usually feed in the early morning or evening, and may be seen crossing roads or feeding along roadsides. Quails which are kept in aviaries also eat commercial poultry pellets. Brown Quails breed round the year. They make a nest in the ground, not far from water, and hidden in thick grass, with some overhanging vegetation for further protection. Both adults take turns in incubating the eggs. The chicks leave the nest immediately after hatching.  Quails can be bred in aviaries along with finches, pigeons, doves and parrots. It is best to keep only one pair per aviary, as they are noisy birds.

However, they are often hunted for their meat. E encroachment of dense grasslands where they can hide, has also caused a significant decline in their numbers.