Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Quail, any bird of the genus Coturnix, with six species, of the Partridge family, of which they are the smallest members. They range over the Palaearctic, Ethiopian, and Oriental regions to New Zealand. The Common Quail (C. communis) - the bird on which the Children of Israel fed in the wilderness - is about seven inches in length, and the female slightly larger, in general form resembling a very small partridge. The plumage is brown with buff markings, and on the throat of the male are two dark-brown streaks descending from the ear coverts, and in the second year they end in a blackish patch. The Quail is a British visitor, arriving in April and generally leaving in November, though some stay through the winter. In their northward migration immense numbers pass over the south of Europe, and multitudes are netted for the market, the flesh being highly valued for the table. Quails are pugnacious birds, and the males are sometimes polygamous. The nest, generally a depression in a green cornfield, contains from seven to fourteen eggs. The young are soon able to follow the old birds, and feed upon grain, insects, and tender leaves.