Common quail

Common quail ©Margaret Holland

Quail

Scientific name: Coturnix coturnix
This tiny gamebird is rarely seen, but its distinctive "wet my lips" call can be heard ringing out over areas of farmland on summer evenings.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 17cm
Wingspan: 34cm
Weight: 100g

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Amber under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015). Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

When to see

April to October

About

The Quail is a migratory species of gamebird, travelling as far south as Africa for the winter, then returning to the UK to breed in late spring. Farmland birds, they spend most of their time on the floor, hidden in grass or cereal fields.

How to identify

A small, rather round bird, patterned with fine dark and gold markings over a brown background. Males can be recognised by their black throat. They are most likely to be seen in flight, where they show very long and pointed wings.

Distribution

Quail can appear throughout the UK, but breeding birds are most common in England and southern Scotland. They are very rare in Northern Ireland.

Did you know?

Quail are very reluctant to fly, preferring to escape by running away through the thick vegetation they live in. Despite this, they manage to fly as far as Africa and back each year.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers and landowners to ensure that our wildlife is protected and to promote wildlife-friendly practices. By working together, we can create Living Landscapes: networks of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.