European Quail
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. European quail
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  • Scientific Name:  Coturnix coturnix japonica
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin:  Not applicable
  • Origin / Distribution:  Migratory birds that range through Europe, Asia, Northern India.  Will over winter in the Mediterranean coast, Africa, Asia and Thailand.
  • Habitat In Wild:  Grasslands and farmlands.
  • Status In Wild:  Secure.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Secure
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  about 6 - 8 weeks.
  • Adult plumage: attained at about 1 month
  • Best breeding years (estimate):  About 6 months till about 4 years of age.
  • Sexing:  Monomorphic  /  Dimorphic
  • Colour mutations:  Yes, many. 5 main colour types exist but these produce lots of colour combinations when crossed.
  • Availability:  Most bird dealers and pet shops.
  • Temperament:  Have been bred for hundreds of years and their temperament more closely resembles that of poultry than most other "wild" quail.  Due to their domestication traits they are generally compatible with all types of birds.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $10
  • Description Of Adults:  Similar in appearance to the Stubble quail.  European Quail are one of the smallest birds in the pheasant family.
  1. Length: Approx. 220 mm (or approx.  8.5 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ):  Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. up to 240 gms (or approx.  8.5 ozs)

Commercially bred European quail are now larger than their wild type.

Aviary Notes:

Level Of Knowledge Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / Specialist Breeders Only.

Government Regulations & By-Laws:  Refer to " Government Laws " web page.

Housing Requirements:  Refer to " Quail " web page for general details on the housing of Quail or read on for specific details for this bird.

This species is raised in commercial breeding farms.  These birds are farmed as a meat bird for the domestic and restaurant meat trade.  Their housing requirements are very basic and as long as the area is clean, dry and temperature appropriate the birds will lay.  In the farm environment the birds are often raised in wire cages similar to chickens.  Many pairs have lost the instinct to incubate and raise their own young i.e. they lay like egg production chickens.

Due to their domestication traits they can tolerate multiple pairs per aviary.

Diet / Feeding:   Refer to " Quail " web page for general details on the feeding of Quail or read on for specific details for this bird.

Natural diet comprises mainly seeds and insects.

Along with the King quail, this species is one of the easiest of all the species of quail to feed.  Good quality finch or small parrot mix  and vegetable green foods as per "Quail" web page.  European quail are not reliant on live foods for good breeding results.  The commercial farmers of these birds have developed and produce a nutritionally balanced pellet food suitable for aviary use.


  • Nesting months:  All year round if conditions are suitable.
  • Nest location:  Many do not make a nest, they just lay the eggs at random places any where they like.  If a nest is made it is on the floor usually at the back of the aviary in a secluded spot.
  • Nest material:  Dry grasses and plant material.
  • Who incubates the egg/s:  Hen / cock / both share. Most strains of European Quail no longer have the instinct to incubate their own eggs. Artificial incubation of the eggs is now essential in most situations.

Breeding:  Egg Colour Creamy white with brown patches.  Clutch/s per year...multiple.  Eggs per nest  6 - 10.  Incubation approx. 18 days.  Independent approx.  3 - 4 weeks.  The "young" quail can start laying at the age of only 7 weeks of age!!

Make sure the breeding birds are both true European quail.  As many birds have lost the natural instinct to incubate and raise their own young it can be extremely frustrating to many people to have to either abandon the eggs or have to go to the time consuming trouble of artificial incubation and hand raising of this species.  "Non clucky" strains can lay 200 or more eggs per year.  The quail that do their own nest building, egg incubation and raise their chicks should be identified and placed back into the aviary.  Commercial traits for commercial production.  The natural clucky traits for our aviaries, especially for the beginner stage aviculturalist.

Artificial incubation and hand rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site.  It is too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.

Health Issues:  Refer to "Avian Health Issues" web page for information and references.

  • Worming and parasite control and Quarantine requirements of new bird/s or sick bird/s are considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on this web site.  Refer "Avian Health Issues" web page option.
  • Avian medicine is advancing at a rapid pace.  Keep updating your knowledge and skills.

General References:  Refer to references listed on "Book References" web page.

Specific References:

  • Australian Aviculture
  • A/A Vol 59 No. 9 Sept 2005 Page 198.  
  • Australian Birdkeeper

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