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quail

quail, common name for a variety of small game birds related to the partridge, pheasant, and more distantly to the grouse. There are three subfamilies in the quail family: the New World quails; the Old World quails and partridges; and the true pheasants and seafowls. No species of New World quail is migratory, but some Old World quail represent the only migratory species of the order. The migratory quail of Eurasia has been known for its phenomenal migrations since biblical times. Quails have high reproductive potentials, with 12 to 15 eggs laid per clutch. The nests are built on the ground in vegetation. The female does the major portion of incubation and rearing. Quails are extremely popular game birds. The Old World quail has never been naturalized in America; in the central and S United States the bobwhite, Colinus virginianus, is commonly called quail (or partridge). The helmet and plumed quails, named for their crests, the Gambel's quail, and the valley and scaled quails are all western birds. They eat harmful insects and seeds and travel in flocks called coveys. Quails are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Galliformes, family Phasianidae.

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quail

quail1 / kwāl/ • n. (pl. same or quails ) 1. a small, short-tailed Old World game bird (family Phasianidae) resembling a tiny partridge, typically having brown camouflaged plumage. Three genera, in particular Coturnix, and several species include the common quail (C. coturnix). 2. a small or medium-sized New World game bird (family Phasianidae or Odontophoridae) the male of which has distinctive facial markings. Several genera and many species include the bobwhite. . quail2 • v. [intr.] feel or show fear or apprehension: she quailed at his heartless words.

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quail

quail Any of a group of Old World gamebirds. The European quail (Coturnix coturnix), a small, short-tailed bird with white throat and mottled brownish plumage, is found throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. The Australian quail (Turnix velox) is a stocky, brownish bird. Mainly ground-living birds, they scrape for fruits and seeds and nest on the ground. The Japanese quail (C. coturnix japonica) is used as a source of meat and eggs in Europe and the USA.

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quail

quail Formerly a game bird, now so endangered in the wild that shooting is prohibited, but farmed. Two main species, Bonasa umbellus and Colinus virginianus; Californian quail is Lophortyx californica. The small eggs are prized as a delicacy. A 150‐g portion (whole bird) is a rich source of protein and niacin; a good source of vitamins B1 and B2; contains 3 g of fat and supplies 180 kcal (760 kJ).

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quail

quail. Toy instr. which imitates the cry of the quail; used in ‘toy symphonies’. Beethoven imitated the quail in his Pastoral Symphony but using normal instrs.

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quail

quail1 migratory bird allied to the partridge. XIV. — OF. quaille (mod. caille):- medL. coacula, prob. of imit. orig.

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quail

quail2 fail, give way XV; lose heart, be cowed XVI; also trans. of unkn. orig.

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quails

quails See PHASIANIDAE.

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quail

quailail, ale, assail, avail, bail, bale, bewail, brail, Braille, chain mail, countervail, curtail, dale, downscale, drail, dwale, entail, exhale, fail, faille, flail, frail, Gael, Gail, gale, Grail, grisaille, hail, hale, impale, jail, kale, mail, male, nail, nonpareil, outsail, pail, pale, quail, rail, sail, sale, sangrail, scale, shale, snail, stale, swale, tail, tale, they'll, trail, upscale, vail, vale, veil, wail, wale, whale, Yale •Passchendaele • Airedale •Wensleydale • Clydesdale •Chippendale • Coverdale • Abigail •galingale • martingale • nightingale •farthingale • Windscale • timescale •blackmail • airmail •email, female •Ishmael • voicemail • vermeil

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Quail

QUAIL

QUAIL (Heb. שְׂלָו), the bird Coturnix coturnix, the smallest of the pheasant family. The quail is approximately seven inches (about 18 cm.) long and weighs some 3½ ounces (100 gr.). The color of its plumage is like that of the house sparrow, a fact indicated in the Talmud, which also states that the quail is one of four species of pheasant (the other being the *pheasant and two species of *partridge), that its flesh is very fatty and its taste inferior to that of the other species (Yoma 75b). Large flocks of quail provided food for the Israelites in the wilderness having been blown across the sea by a wind which "let them fall by the camp, about a day's journey on this side, and a day's journey on the other side, round about the camp, and about two cubits above the face of the earth." Some were eaten fresh, the rest being spread out on the ground to dry in the sun (Num. 11:31–33; cf. Ex. 16:3–4; Ps. 78:26–27; 105:40). According to Josephus, flocks of quails from the Arabian gulf "came flying over this stretch of sea, and, alike wearied by their flight and withal accustomed more than other birds to skim the ground, settled in the Hebrews' camp" (Ant. 3:25). This description is factual. The phenomenon repeats itself in spring and in fall when large flocks of quail pass over the Mediterranean Sea on their migration from northern countries to Africa in fall and on their return in spring. Weary from their lengthy flight, the flocks settle on the southern coast of the country (between Gaza and El-Arish), to be caught in nets spread out before they settle, into which they fall exhausted. The local population eats them, selling most of them in city markets. Until the 1930s and 1940s millions of quails were caught in this way at these seasons but their number has since decreased. In addition to the migratory flocks of quails, some of them breed in cereal and fodder fields in various regions of Israel, building their nests on the ground. Their grayish-brown color conceals them from human sight and only when approached do they rise in noisy flight, coming to rest in a nearby field, since their comparatively short wings make it difficult for them to fly high.

bibliography:

Lewysohn, Zool, 210f., no. 260; F.S. Bodenheimer, Animal and Man in Bible Lands (1960), 59; J. Feiks, Animal World of the Bible (1962), 56.

[Jehuda Feliks]

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Quail

Quail

Species of quail

Quail and people

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Quail are relatively small species of fowl that have traditionally been included in the family Phasianidae, which also includes pheasants, partridges, peafowl, turkeys, guineafowl, and francolins. Recent DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) evidence suggests that New World quail are not particularly closely related to the Old World quail or pheasants of the Phasianidae, and the 32 species of New World quail (the genera Oreortyx, Philortyx, Dactylortyx, Rhynchortyx, Den-drortyx, Callipepla, Colinus, Cyrtonyx, and Odontophorus ) are now usually placed in a separate family, Odontophoridae.

Like other members of their family, quail have a chunky body with short, rounded wings, and a short, thick, hooked bill, in which the tip of the upper mandible hangs slightly over that of the lower. The legs and feet are stout, and are used for running as well as for scratching in the ground surface for their foods of seeds and invertebrates. Compared with other birds in the Phasianidae, quails are relatively small, short-necked birds, with a short tail, a serrated edge of the beak, and lacking spurs on the legs.

Quail are nonmigratory, terrestrial birds, inhabiting semi-deserts, grasslands, open woodlands, and forest edges. Quail eat berries, seeds, buds, and leaves, as well as insects and other types of invertebrates that they encounter, especially as they scratch through dirt and debris on the ground. Young quail feed especially heavily on invertebrates, because they are growing rapidly and therefore need a diet rich in proteins.

Male quail are relatively brightly patterned and are often ornamented with unusual structures that are intended to impress the femalefor example, a long plume of feathers on the head. In addition, male quail have strutting behavioral repertoires that are designed to excite potential mates.

These structures and behaviors are not adaptive in the conventional sense, in fact, they likely make male quail more vulnerable to being killed by predators. These special characteristics of male quail have evolved as a result of sexual selection, a force that favors individuals that are most pleasing to the females in an aesthetic sense. Other members of the Phasianidae, such as pheasants and peafowl, have evolved even more unusual reproduction-enhancing characteristics than the quail.

Most species of quail have a monogamous breeding system, in which male and female birds pair off and cooperate in breeding. This is different from many other groups in the Phasianidae, which are

polygynous. Quail nest on the ground, usually beneath a shrub or in other protective cover. In some species of quail, both the female and the male brood the eggs, and both cooperate in raising the chicks. Quail chicks are precocious and can leave the nest soon after birth, following their parents and feeding themselves, mostly on insects.

Species of quail

Species of quail occur in the Americas, Africa, Eurasia, and Australasia. Six native species of quail occur in North America, mostly in the west. In addition, various species of quail have been widely introduced as game birds beyond their natural range, including the common quail, bobwhite, and California quail. Other species are commonly kept in zoos and private aviaries around the world.

The bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus ) is the most familiar species of quail in southeastern Canada, the eastern and central United States, and south to Guatemala. This species has also been widely introduced as a game bird. There is a relatively large, introduced population in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. This bird is named after its whistled calls of bob-bob-white. The California quail (Lophortyx californica ) occurs in open woodlands and parks of all of the Pacific states. Gambels quail (L. gambelii ) occurs in the southwestern states and northern Mexico. The males of both of these species have a long, black plume that stands erect on the top of their head. The plumes of females are shorter.

The mountain quail (Oreortyx pictus ) occurs in woodlands and chaparral at relatively high elevation in the western states. This species also has a head plume, similarly sized in both sexes.

KEY TERMS

Monogamy A system in which a male and female form a pair that cooperates in breeding.

Polygyny A breeding system in which a male will attempt to breed with as many females as possible. In birds, the female of a polygynous species usually incubates the eggs and raises the babies unaided by the male.

Sexual selection This is a type of natural selection in which anatomical or behavioral traits may be favored because they confer some advantage in courtship or another aspect of breeding. For example, the bright coloration, long tail, and elaborate displays of male pheasants have resulted from sexual selection by females, who apparently favor extreme expressions of these traits in their mates.

The scaled quail (Callipepla squamata ) and harlequin quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae ) occur in the southwestern states and Central America.

The only species of quail in Europe is the common quail (Coturnix coturnix ), which also ranges widely into Asia and Africa. Northern populations of this robin-sized species are migratory. Numerous attempts have been made to introduce the common quail as a game bird in North America, but none of these have established breeding populations.

Quail and people

Most species of quail are economically important as game birds and are hunted for sport or as source of wild meat. However, quail are easily over-hunted, so it is important to conserve their populations.

Quail are also kept in captivity in zoos, parks, and private aviaries, although this is somewhat less common than with pheasants and peafowl, which are larger, more colorful birds.

Unfortunately, some species of quail are becoming endangered in their native habitats. This is partly due to excessive hunting, but more important in many cases are losses of the natural habitat of these birds. These ecological changes are largely due to agricultural conversions of natural habitats that quail require, and to other human influences.

Resources

BOOKS

Alderton, D. The Atlas of Quails. Neptune City, NJ: TFH Publications, 1992.

Bird Families of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, and J. Sargatal. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 2, New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions, 1994.

Forshaw, Joseph. Encyclopedia of Birds. 2nd ed. New York: Academic Press, 1998.

Johnsgard, P.A. Quails, Partridges, and Francolins of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Bill Freedman

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Quail

Quail

Quail are relatively small species of fowl in the family Phasianidae, which also includes pheasants , partridges , peafowl , turkeys , guinea fowl , and francolins.

Like other members of their family, quail have a chunky body with short, rounded wings, and a short, thick, hooked bill, in which the tip of the upper mandible hangs slightly over that of the lower. The legs and feet are stout, and are used for running as well as for scratching in the ground surface for their foods of seeds and invertebrates . Compared with other birds in the Phasianidae, quails are relatively small, short-necked birds, with a short tail, a serrated edge of the beak, and lacking spurs on the legs.

Quail are nonmigratory, terrestrial birds, inhabiting semideserts, grasslands , open woodlands, and forest edges. Quail eat berries, seeds, buds, and leaves, as well as insects and other types of invertebrates that they encounter, especially as they scratch through dirt and debris on the ground. Young quail feed especially heavily on invertebrates, because they are growing rapidly and therefore need a diet rich in proteins .

Male quail are relatively brightly patterned and are often ornamented with unusual structures that are intended to impress the female—for example, a long plume of feathers on the head. In addition, male quail have strutting behavioral repertoires that are designed to excite potential mates.

These structures and behaviors are not adaptive in the conventional sense, in fact, they likely make male quail more vulnerable to being killed by predators. These special characteristics of male quail have evolved as a result of sexual selection, a force that favors individuals that are most pleasing to the females in an aesthetic sense. Other members of the Phasianidae, such as pheasants and peafowl, have evolved even more unusual reproduction-enhancing characteristics than the quails.

Most species of quail have a monogamous breeding system, in which male and female birds pair off and cooperate in breeding. This is different from many other groups in the Phasianidae, which are polygynous. Quail nest on the ground, usually beneath a shrub or in other protective cover. In some species of quails, both the female and the male brood the eggs, and both cooperate in raising the chicks. Quail chicks are precocious and can leave the nest soon after birth , following their parents and feeding themselves, mostly on insects.


Species of quail

Species of quail occur in the Americas, Africa , Eurasia, and Australasia. Six native species of quails occur in North America , mostly in the west. In addition, various species of quails have been widely introduced as game birds beyond their natural range, including the common quail, bobwhite, and California quail. Other species are commonly kept in zoos and private aviaries around the world.

The bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) is the most familiar species of quail in southeastern Canada, the eastern and central United States, and south to Guatemala. This species has also been widely introduced as a game-bird. There is a relatively large, introduced population in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. This bird is named after its whistled calls of "bob-bob-white." The California quail (Lophortyx californica) occurs in open woodlands and parks of all of the Pacific states. Gambel's quail (L. gambelii) occurs in the southwestern states and northern Mexico. The males of both of these species have a long, black plume that stands erect on the top of their head. The plume of females is shorter.

The mountain quail (Oreortyx pictus) occurs in woodlands and chaparral at relatively high elevation in the western states. This species also has a head plume, similarly sized in both sexes.

The scaled quail (Callipepla squamata) and harlequin quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae) occur in the southwestern states and Central America.

The only species of quail in Europe is the common quail (Coturnix coturnix), which also ranges widely into Asia and Africa. Northern populations of this robin-sized species are migratory. Numerous attempts have been made to introduce the common quail as a game bird in North America, but none of these have established breeding populations.


Quail and people

Most species of quail are economically important as game birds and are hunted for sport or as source of wild meat. However, quail are easily over-hunted, so it is important to conserve their populations.

Quail are also kept in captivity in zoos, parks, and private aviaries, although this is somewhat less common than with pheasants and peafowl, which are larger, more colorful birds.

Unfortunately, some species of quail are becoming endangered in their native habitats. This is partly due to excessive hunting, but more important in many cases are losses of the natural habitat of these birds. These ecological changes are largely due to agricultural conversions of natural habitats that quail require, and to other human influences.


Resources

books

Alderton, D. The Atlas of Quails. Neptune City, NJ: TFH Publications, 1992.

Bird Families of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Forshaw, Joseph. Encyclopedia of Birds. New York: Academic Press, 1998.

Johnsgard, P.A. Quails, Partridges, and Francolins of theWorld. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988.


Bill Freedman

KEY TERMS

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Monogamy

—A system in which a male and female form a pair that cooperates in breeding.

Polygyny

—A breeding system in which a male will attempt to breed with as many females as possible. In birds, the female of a polygynous species usually incubates the eggs and raises the babies unaided by the male.

Sexual selection

—This is a type of natural selection in which anatomical or behavioral traits may be favored because they confer some advantage in courtship or another aspect of breeding. For example, the bright coloration, long tail, and elaborate displays of male pheasants have resulted from sexual selection by females, who apparently favor extreme expressions of these traits in their mates.

Cite this article
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  • MLA
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  • APA

"Quail." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Quail." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 14, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/quail

"Quail." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Retrieved September 14, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/quail

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.