Quails mainly have two popular species in the South Western part of North America. One of the species is found in the southwestern part of the US and is named the Gambel’s quail. The other one is the Californian one and is also the state bird of the same.
The only way to distinguish between the two species is by trying to find a black patch. This is mainly found in males in their lower breast. This black patch is seen in the Gambal’s quail and not the California quail. Other than these species, there are a lot more. Various species are found all over the world, especially in Europe and Asia.
Most quails are about 12 inches in height, and their weight is mostly 10 ounces maximum. Both of these depend on the species. The males generally have feathers with colors on the head. They also have stripes and have feathers extends from their head as well. At the same time, the female quail has a rather grey color on her body. The stripes are white along with black faces.
Their wingspan is generally 12 to 16 inches. Other than the two species widely found are all similar in size, but the only thing that they differ in is their habitat. Their habitat conditions also depend mainly on their preference.
Do Quails Fly? – Quail facts
Most of the time, quail spends its time on the ground. Their small flocks are known as “covey,” and they are quite sociable. Quails do fly, but they aren’t capable of enduring long flights. They prefer walking, but if they are startled, they can fly up to a speed of 40 miles per hour. Quails are generally found in small areas, mostly with 9-20 birds together. Coveys seem to form pairs between males and females during the breeding season.
Regardless of the quail’s preference to walk on the ground, they have very powerful wings that are very long. Their powerful wings let them make long journeys. However, quails who migrate to Egypt are hunted most of the time. Quails have also been a source of food there. With the help of various trapping sites, they are caught and sold for consumption.
Just like chickens, Quails also belong to the gallinaceous order. Pheasants, turkey, and partridges all belong to this order. Most of them stay on the ground and don’t fly often. Quails can fly at a great speed, but they mostly run as well. There are a few exceptions among their species as well. It is said that European quails fly and migrate more often than other species.
The female quails usually lay around 10-15 eggs on their nest. It takes around three weeks to hatch. After the egg is hatched, both the male and females care for them. After forming a family, the quails generally stick to the others to be safe. The chicks can fly after two weeks, and they become independent quite soon. However, their average lifespan is 1-3 years only.
Quails habitat and diet
They generally live in croplands and woodlands as well. They also live in open spaces that are full of bushes and are mainly farmlands. Though the majority of the species are found in North America, they are found even in Australia, Africa, and Asia. Wild quails also live in East Asia and even in Africa. Even though they do have powerful wings, they tend to live in the same area and don’t migrate often.
The diet of quails is mostly berries, seeds, and grass. The majority of their diet is plant-based. They also consume other insects and worms. Grasshoppers are also one of the insects that they generally eat. They are active either during the night or day. In order to get rid of pests, they bathe in the dust and clean their feathers.
Even though they are generally birds who live or walk alone, they are also found in pairs. Only during the winter and mating season, they live in coveys. Quails have predators like foxes, skunks, snakes, rats, and owls. Along with them, humans also hunt them for their eggs and meat.
The only way they defend themselves is by using their spurs, which are quite bony, and they use that against the predators. Though most quails tend to fly very quickly when threatened or startled, some remain completely motionless. They also tend to run and hide.
Most quails are difficult to look for, and they usually use high-pitched sounds. They grunt, and their sounds also have harmony in them. Due to that, they are able to be located quite quickly. They generally start mating when they are two months old, and their nests are found in cornfields and wheat lands.
They are also kept in commercial markets in order to sell their eggs. They are also the smallest birds found on farms. Their eggs are very bright in color and the most common ones kept as poultry are the Japanese quails. They weigh only about 100 grams and are mostly farmed in China. The European Union itself produces about 100 million of them every year.
The farmed ones are slaughtered only when they are five weeks old. However, if it is a good farm, their natural living conditions are taken care of properly. If the quails are trapped while migrating, then some countries might not allow them to do so. Regardless, they are more often trapped as a food source. Surprisingly, they move rapidly through bushes, and due to this reason, they are able to build nests in these areas.
Since quails are hardly seen in flight, most people assume that they do not fly at all. They only prefer flying when they are startled, but again they cannot endure long flights at all. Due to this reason, only some species are found flying during the migration seasons and winter. Moreover, their rapid flights that are seen when they are startled is known as “flushing,” and while coming back to the ground, more often, they tend to glide.