The common quail or European quail is a small ground-nesting game bird in the pheasant family Phasianidae. The quail is a small bird that inhabits woodland and forest areas around the globe.
There are thought to be more than 15 different species of quail, with each species of quail being found in different parts of the world and all have slightly different appearances depending on how they have adapted to their environment.
Quails range in size depending on the species from the Japanese quail which is about 10 cm tall to the larger mountain quail that can grow to 25 cm tall. Quails are generally solitary birds and spend most of their time either on their own or in a pair with just one other quail.
During the mating season, it is common to see large flocks of quails as family groups convoy together in groups of up to 100 individuals. Quails do not tend to migrate and therefore spend their lives within the same area.
Although quails are omnivorous animals, they tend to have a primarily vegetarian diet eating seeds, wheat, barley, flowers and fruits but they will also eat insects such as snails and grasshoppers.
Around 95% of the quail’s diet is thought to consist of plant matter. The quail has many natural predators, mainly due to its small size. Snakes, raccoons, foxes, squirrels, coyotes, bobcats, skunks, dogs, cats, hawks, owls, rats and weasels are all known to hunt either the quail itself and its vulnerable eggs. Humans are also predators of the quail, as they are reared for human consumption.
Keywords to learn
Migrate: An animal moving from one region or habitat to another according to seasons.
Spurs: A horny spike on the back of a leg of some animals used for fighting.
Hey Kids, my name is Quentin the Quail and I am very happy to meet you. Learn more about me and my species @ www.kids.nationalgeographic.com
Key Quail Data
- Lifespan:3 – 5 years.
- Scientific Name:Coturnix Coturnix.
- Mass:70g – 140g (2.4 ounces – 4.9 ounces).
- Length:11cm – 20cm (4.5 inches – 7.8 inches).
- Region found:All continents – except Antarctica.
- Population Status:Least concern.
- Current population trend:Least concern.
- Sexual maturity:5-6 weeks.
The quail is a very common bird all over the world and is hunted by pretty much every animal that is bigger than them, so the quail is really bottom of the food chain. The quail is also hunted by humans for sport.
Now that you know more about the quail by learning the key data above, be sure also to check out the fun facts. When you are finished learning the facts, try answering the questions in the Q&A corner on the bottom right side of the page.
Download questions about the quail here: Quail (answers are on this page)
Teachers. For more in depth work sheets on the quail. Click on Kidskonnect Worksheets
Quail Fun Facts for Kids
- # 1. Quails can be active during the day (diurnal animals) or night (nocturnal animals) depending on the species and environments.
- # 2. Quails run when they are threatened. Some species are able to quickly reach the sky, while some become motionless when faced with danger. Certain quails are equipped with heel spurs – bony structure used for protection against predators.
- # 3. Quail will often take “dust baths” where they will burrow into soft soil two to three inches deep, then wriggle around in the dirt while flapping their wings and ruffling their feathers. You can detect the presence of quail in an area by looking for the circular indentations left behind by their dust baths.
- # 4. Quail cannot endure long flights, and they usually live their entire lives within a 40-acre radius.
- # 5. Common quail breed once yearly and can have up to three clutches per season.
- # 1. What family does the quail belong to?
- # 2. How many species of quail are there worldwide?
- # 3. What animals are known to hunt quail and its eggs?
- # 4. Are quail’s diurnal or nocturnal?
- # 5. How many clutches per season can a quail have?