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

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. king quail
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    photo of King quail photo of young King quail
  • An Australian Quail  (Click on photo to enlarge)  Left= young, Right=hen on 16 eggs.
  • Photos donated by Jessica & Sarah
  • Scientific Name:  Coturnix chinensis
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin:  2 in Australia, plus others overseas.
  • Origin / Distribution:  Across northern Australia, down east coast of Australia and across to South Australia.
  • Habitat In Wild:  Thick grasslands.
  • Status In Wild:  Secure in northern Australia but declining elsewhere.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Very common, but pure "normal" colour birds are becoming harder to acquire.
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  ?
  • Adult plumage: attained at about 2 months 
  • Best breeding years (estimate):  6 months to about 3 years
  • Sexing:  Monomorphic / Dimorphic.  Juvenile cock birds usually start to show the throat colouration at about 3 weeks of age.
  • Colour mutations:  Yes.
  • Availability:  Pet shops and bird dealers.
  • Temperament:  Ideal beginners quail.  One of the most commonly kept bird in aviculture.  Often kept with finches and parrots in aviaries.  One of the least expensive of all birds and is easy to breed.  Hatchling baby quail are capable of getting through 13 mm (half inch) aviary wire.  Mouse proof wire ( 7mm) may be necessary to prevent escapes.  Generally kept one pair per aviary or one cock bird with multiple hens.  Some hens will lay eggs but have no interest in incubating the eggs.  Will breed year round.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $10
  • Description Of Adults: Smallest of the Coturnix quail.
  1. Length: Approx. 130 mm (or approx. 5 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photos above.
  3. Weight: Approx. 40 gms (or approx. 1.4 ozs)
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..

Compatible with most finches, small parrots, doves and pigeons.  King quail can often be successfully bred in a colony situation.  King quail can be successful in a relatively small cage/aviary of about 1 square metre per pair.  Hatchling baby King quail are capable of getting through 13 mm (half inch) aviary wire.  Mouse proof wire ( 7mm) may be necessary to prevent escapes.

Quail that are noisy, especially in the morning, should be housed in an aviary most distant away from neighbours.

Baby King quail can drown in the water bowl.  To minimize the risk of the young drowning, a shallow container/bowl/dish can replace the usual parrot or finch water utensil.  Small pebbles or small clean rocks can be placed in the shallow water bowl to help reduce the risk of a young quail drowning.

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

Probably the easiest of all the species of quail to feed.  Good quality finch or small parrot mix plus insects, green grasses and vegetable green foods as per "Quail" web page.  King quail are less reliant on live foods than other quail for good breeding results.  May eat some of the commercial poultry pellets.

King quail have a big appetite for live foods and will often out compete other birds for their fair share.  Finches will benefit from a separate supply well out of the reach of the quail.


  • Nesting months: May breed all year round if conditions are suitable.  Seasons spring to autumn are generally the most productive.
  • Nest location:  On the floor in a basic nest usually at the back of the aviary in a secluded spot.
  • Nest material:  Dry grasses and leaves.
  • Who incubates the egg/s: Hen / cock / both share.

Breeding: Egg Colour Light brown with fine black spots.  Clutch/s per year =  multiple.  Eggs per nest  4 - 10, sometimes more.  Incubation approx. 18 - 20 days.  Independent by the age of about  4 - 6 weeks.

Photo, above right, shows a healthy, happy hen sitting on 16 eggs.  The hen is capable of covering and incubating all the eggs.

The eggs are laid on a daily basis and incubation starts when the last egg has been laid.  The young usually all hatch about the same time.  They grow fast and are fully feathered just after 2 weeks of age.  They are capable of flight before the age of 3 weeks.

King quail will probably incubate and raise their own young.  Hatchling baby quail are capable of getting through 13 mm (half inch) aviary wire.  Mouse proof wire ( 7mm) may be necessary to prevent escapes.

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 53 No. 7 July 1999 Page 143-144
  • A/A Vol 51 No. 5 May 1997 Page 107-109
  • A/A Vol 40 No. 7 Jul 1986 Page 167-169
  • A/A Vol 36 No. 12 Dec 1982 Page 276-279 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 36 No. 1 Jan 1982 Page 7-8
  • A/A Vol 25 No. 9 Sept 1971 Page 146-148.
  • A/A Vol 25 No. 5 May 1971 Page 68.
  • A/A Vol 23 No 2 Feb 1969 Page 23.
  • A/A Vol 20 No 5 May 1966 Page 68-70.
  • A/A Vol 20 No 4 Apr 1966 Page 56-57.
  • A/A Vol 20 No 3 Mar 1966 Page 49-51.
  • A/A Vol 14 No 5 May 1960 Page 76.
  • A/A Vol 12 No 10 Oct 1958 Page 132, 136.
  • A/A Vol 12 No 3 Mar 1958 Page 48.
  • A/A Vol 10 No 11 Nov 1956 Page 130.
  • A/A Vol  9 No 12 Dec 1955 Page 147-148.
  • A/A Vol  5 No 10 Oct 1951 Page 116-119.
  • A/A Vol  5 No 1 Jan 1951 Page 7.
  • A/A Vol  4 No 5 May 1950 Page 58.
  • A/A Vol  3 No 9 Sept 1949 Page 99.
  • A/A Vol  1  No 3 Mar 1947 Page
  • The Bulletin No 24, Oct 1944 Page 2 - 3.
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 2 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 1989 Page 429-430

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