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Old World quail facts for kids

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Quail
Brown Quail.jpg
Brown quail, Coturnix ypsilophora
Scientific classification
Kingdom:
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Horsfield, 1821
The Childrens Museum of Indianapolis - Quail trap
A quail trap from Malaysia, also known as the jebak puyuh: A female quail was placed in the woven container behind the netting. As the female called out, a male mate would approach and then the trap would fall on him. Quails are now rarely found in the wild in Malaysia, so such devices now serve as decoration.

Old World quail is a collective name for several genera of mid-sized birds in the pheasant family Phasianidae.

New World quail are also found in the Galliformes, but are not in the same family (Odontophoridae). Buttonquails are not closely related at all, but are named for their similar appearance. They are presently placed in the family Turnicidae of the Charadriiformes, more closely related to shorebirds, gulls and auks.

The collective noun for a group of quail is flock, bevy or covey.

Taxonomy

Old World quail may refer to the following species of Phasianidae:

  • Genus Coturnix
    • Common quail, Coturnix coturnix
    • Japanese quail, Coturnix japonica
    • Stubble quail, Coturnix pectoralis
    • New Zealand quail, Coturnix novaezelandiae (extinct)
    • Rain quail, Coturnix coromandelica
    • Harlequin quail, Coturnix delegorguei
    • †Canary Islands quail, Coturnix gomerae (fossil)
    • Brown quail, Coturnix ypsilophora
    • Blue quail, Coturnix adansonii
    • King quail, Coturnix chinensis
  • Genus Anurophasis
    • Snow Mountain quail, Anurophasis monorthonyx
  • Genus Perdicula
    • Jungle bush quail, Perdicula asiatica
    • Rock bush quail, Perdicula argoondah
    • Painted bush quail, Perdicula erythrorhyncha
    • Manipur bush quail, Perdicula manipurensis
  • Genus Ophrysia
    • Himalayan quail, Ophrysia superciliosa (critically endangered/extinct)

Behaviour

Old World quail are small, plump terrestrial birds. They are seed eaters, but will also take insects and similar small prey. They nest on the ground and are capable of short, rapid bursts of flight. Some species, such as the Japanese and common quail, are migratory and fly for long distances.

Some quail are farmed in large numbers. The common and Japanese (or coturnix) quail are both raised for table meat or to produce eggs.  They are also readily hunted, often artificially stocked on game farms or to supplement wild populations.

Migrating common quail are known to eat some poisonous seeds with no apparent ill effects but store the poison in their body fat, poisoning people who subsequently eat these birds; this condition is known as "coturnism".

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Old World quail Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.