Chinese Painted Quail

Coturnix chinensis

These tiny, hardy birds are hard to spot, so be sure to look on the floor underneath the cockatiels and budgerigars to see them!

Species Information

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Chinese painted quail, despite the name, are not just found in China. Their range stretches across southern Asia, Australia, and even in Madagascar! They are generally found in wetlands, such as marshes or grasslands bordered by water.

This is the smallest quail species, weighing up to only 40g. They have shiny, well-groomed plumages which have been domestically bred to come in different colours.

The majority of their diet is made up with different seeds, but they also consume other vegetation and small invertebrates.

In the wild they typically live for 1-2 years, but in captivity can live up to 13 years.

‘Button’ quail are usually found in pairs or small flocks, known as conveys. Much like a chicken, quail walk with a crouched posture, rapidly nodding their heads. If threatened, they screech a high pitched and rapid call to warn other nearby animals. They love a dust bath, which helps to keep them clean and the feathers well groomed.

A male, and sometimes vice versa, will sometimes present food to the opposite sex, such as a worm. Males will then puff their chests and show off their chestnut-red breast feathers whilst courting with clucking sounds. Females will lay up to 21 eggs all in different locations. Therefore, they find each of their laid eggs and roll them to their nest, which they solely incubate for about 18 days. The hatched chicks are imaginably tiny, only the size of a bumble bee or fingernail! But they are precocial and grow quickly, being sexually mature after only 1 month!

Least Concern

‘King’ quail rarely fly, only flying straight up if startled by a predatory threat!