10 Types of Quail in Australia

Types of Quail in Australia
Photo by JAdamsID

There are ten different types of quail in Australia. These birds can fly well over short distances and nest on the ground.

Some breeds are migratory and travel to Africa in the winter and come back to visit. Most of these birds are bred for meat, egg, or hunting.

Let’s look at the different types you can find in Australia.

1. King Quail

The king quail is a small chubby bird with orange legs and feet. They have short, dark tails, reddish-brown eyes, and black beaks.

In addition, male king quails have a bluish-grey chest. Their back and tail feathers are usually mottled brown and black.

In the wild, the king quail population is declining. Although the amount of their population is unknown, the loss of the quail’s native habitat is a significant reason for their decrease. 

King quail inhabit many vegetation areas, like swamps, shrublands, and grasslands. Unfortunately, their habitat has been destroyed as a result of fires, agricultural production, and urban development.

Although king quails don’t produce much meat or eggs, you can still use them for both. Nowadays, most of these birds are kept as ornamental pets with the potential to grow tame.

However, young children should not handle the birds unless they have proper training. These birds can easily get injured because of their small size.

The King quail will make wonderful additions to your aviary if you’re looking for a bright, calm, and lovely bird. Due to the sociable nature of their species, they require a company to thrive.

Because they are ground-dwelling birds, they eat dropped seeds to keep the aviary floor clean. They’re also low-maintenance and get along nicely with other birds.

2. Brown Quail

This is among the different types of quail in Australia. Their color ranges from reddish brown to light sandy brown. The bird’s body is round and looks a little chubby, with short legs and a black beak. These quails are quite popular as game birds.

Brown quails are herbivorous birds. These birds occasionally eat insects and worms, but this is often only done by young birds who require extra protein for growth.

Adults eat roots, seeds, and various kinds of vegetation, such as weeds, grasses, and a variety of other plants. The brown quail feeds primarily in the morning or the evening so that they can get moisture from the dew on the grass.

The brown quail prefer meadows and open regions with dense vegetation as their habitat; however, these birds stay near roads.

Because the brown quail spends much of its time on the ground, it needs a suitable hiding area, which the grass and weeds provide.

Except during the winter, brown quails reproduce all year round, producing about ten eggs per clutch. In addition, they create small depressions in the ground for nests hidden in the tall grass. 

The incubation period is about 18 days. Unlike many other birds, the infants leave the nests when they are still unable to care for themselves properly.

Although the birds can fly, they can’t move very quickly; thus, they only do so in times of danger or when they need to go a long distance. The birds stay in flocks, and they will chirp to warn other birds of an approaching invader.

3. Black-breasted Buttonquail

This is among the different types of quail in Australia. It is a rare species, and like other button quails, they’re unrelated to the true quails.

These birds are plump and come in shades of black, rufous, and light brown. It also has white patches, stripes, and eyes.

Because the birds and their nests are challenging to locate and observe, little is known about the species’ breeding habits.

The gender roles are reversed in the buttonquail genus, where the larger, more colorful female mates with several male partners, leaving them to care for the eggs.

Black-breasted buttonquail females establish coveys with one to three males for most of the year. In the breeding season, the female creates a territory and makes drumming calls to attract a mate. The males often establish small territories within the females.

The black-breasted buttonquail forages on the ground in large regions of dense leaf litter, vine thickets, and lantana thickets.

These places have year-round leaf fall. A flock of birds can scrape out up to 100 plate-shaped shallow feeding spots.

The buttonquail creates them by scratching at the ground with its alternate legs in a circular motion that moves either clockwise or counterclockwise, forming the 20 cm depression. Then they peck for invertebrates in the exposed ground.

4. Buff-breasted Buttonquail

This is one of the rarest types of quail in Australia. These birds inhabit lowlands, woodlands, or subcoastal grasslands. 

The buff-breasted buttonquail is very rare due to its small range and inconspicuous appearance. They move around while running or walking in well-camouflaged places, hardly ever leaving the ground unless it is necessary.

Although they stay in the same places, local movements have been observed, most likely in reaction to seasonal habitat changes. This bird is an endangered specie, and many still wonder if they’re alive.

5. Chestnut-backed Buttonquail

The chestnut-backed buttonquail is one of the types of quail in Australia. It inhabits dry savanna, dry shrubland, and subtropical or tropical dry lowland grassland. This bird is on the IUCN red list of threatened species.

6. Little Buttonquail

The little buttonquail is a small bird that has a reddish brown color with thin white streaks on its upper parts. It has pink legs and feet, a blue-grey beak, and pale eyes. Comparing the sexes, the female is larger and more colorful.

This bird inhabits tropical and temperate grasslands and forests, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. They’re uncommon at higher altitudes and in areas close to the coast. 

From winter through spring and summer, there seems to be a movement from dry inland regions to semi-arid areas closer to the shore. In some years, some populations appear to spend the entire year in the same place. 

Rainfall, plant growth, and food availability are some factors that affect how much movement occurs. These birds feed on grass seeds, insects, and young plants. They feed on the ground at night and do a lot of scratching. 

In southern and eastern Australia, breeding is likely seasonal, but little buttonquail will reproduce whenever rains create favorable conditions. 

Breeding takes place in southeast Australia between September and March. In Western Australia, it lasts from August to December, but in years with a lot of rain, it could last from March to November.

7. Painted Buttonquail

The painted buttonquail is among the different types of quail in Australia. The females are the larger and more colorful of this bird species.

They have a grey color with huge white markings on the breast that fade to off-white around the legs and vent. 

Their face features white eyebrow and tiny white dots with black edges. The female’s wings and back are primarily chestnut with white patches and black bars with white edges.

The males are the same, except for their buff instead of chestnut. Furthermore, this species inhabits temperate and eastern tropical forests and woodlands.

They seem to prefer closed canopies with some understory and ground cover of fallen leaves.

The painted buttonquail is active in the early morning, evening and night, foraging on the ground. They hunt for seeds, fruit, leaves, and insects in pairs or small family groups.

When they are out foraging, they make noticeable “soup-plate” depressions by spinning on either leg alternately while using the other to scrape the leaf litter out of the way, forming circular depressions in which they search for food.

Little is known about how they breed, but the indication is that the females are polyandrous. She courts the male, after matting, lays a clutch of eggs and leaves the male to take care of it. Then she leaves him, looks for another male to mate with, and repeats the process.

8. Red-backed Buttonquail

The red-backed button quail is among the different types of quail in Australia. It’s a small bird with a short tail and round-tipped wings. 

Although the two sexes look similar, the female has more vibrant coloring, including a brighter yellow beak and a more prominent chestnut collar. The young ones have a much darker color.

Most of the time, the red-backed buttonquail is active at night and during dusk. Being a kind of ground-dwelling bird, it travels either singly, in pairs, or in small groups of up to five birds.

It may “freeze” or run when startled, but it rarely takes to the air, and even when it does, it doesn’t fly very far. Although the movements of the birds are poorly understood, some populations are partial migrants and likely migrate at night. 

It consumes more insect prey than other members of the genus and feeds on green plant waste, grass and sedge seeds, and insects.

Breeding occurs between October and June. They build their nest at the bottom of a grass tussock amid tall grasses in a wet location.

9. Red-chested Buttonquail

This is among the different types of quail in Australia. The small and reddish-brown bed prefers to run on the ground instead of flying. The female is brighter and a little bit bigger and heavier.

They live in semi-arid areas but mostly stay in denser, more humid vegetation than the little buttonquail.

Their preferred habitat appears to consist primarily of bare ground, plenty of leaf litter, little to no understory, and patches of tussock grass or sedges.

The birds often feed in areas with deep leaf litter, but if they feel threatened, they will flee to the safety of tussocks or woody debris.

They feed on seeds and insects such as flies, ants, and cockroaches. These birds feed alone, in pairs, or in small groups.

They glean and scratch in the leaf litter while turning on the spot by rotating on one foot and scraping with the other.

Also, they peck at the ground on occasion, which you can observe in dry conditions by the little puffs of dust they create when producing platelets.

Red-chested buttonquails migrate seasonally from winter through spring and summer from dry inland regions to semi-arid areas closer to the coast.

 Some populations spend the entire year in the same area. Rainfall, plant growth, and the availability of food all have an impact on how much movement occurs.

10. Stubble Quail

Last on this list of the different types of quail in Australia is the stubble quail. It is a big, plump quail with streaked, grey-brown upper parts and a cream bottom.

While the female’s lower face and throat are cream-colored, the male has an orange-buff area in those places. In addition, the male has a dark front beneath an orange-buff throat. This quail has light pink legs and feet and a dark grey bill.

The Stubble Quail inhabits well-watered grasslands and shrublands in temperate zones, but it will occasionally wander into desert regions after heavy rains or floods.

Although it uses lower vegetation, it prefers tall, thick vegetation, particularly grasslands. Some populations of these quail remain in place throughout the year.

Still, most appear to wander a lot in response to factors like rainfall, vegetation growth, and food availability. They eat different kinds of grain or seeds. 

Any time of the year is suitable for breeding the stubble quail. After a drought-breaking downpour of rain, they arrive in an area and breed in large numbers, producing up to four clutches of chicks.

They make their nests on the ground in places like grasslands, paddocks of cereal crops, particularly those with undergrowth, and under tiny shrubs. The nest is an earthen scrape lined with bits of surrounding plants or dried grass.

At this time, the female is the only one who sits on the eggs and will cover the nest with nearby plants. Almost immediately after hatching, the rather independent chicks are brought outside the nest.


There you have it, the different types of quail in Australia. Some of these birds are rare, while others are still available and are bred for meat and eggs. These birds also make wonderful pets and are very easy to care for. Thanks for reading!

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