The Common Quail, Coturnix
coturnix, is from the pheasant family Phasianidae of the order
Galliformes, gallinaceous birds. This quail breeds on open arable
farmland and grassland across most of Europe and Asia, laying
6-18 eggs in a ground nest. It is a strongly migratory bird, unlike
most of the gamebirds, and winters in Africa. It is a small (17
cm) rotund bird, essentially streaked brown with a white eyestripe,
and, in the male, a black chin. As befits its migratory nature,
it has long wings, unlike most typically short-winged gamebirds.
This is a terrestrial species, feeding on seeds and insects on
the ground. It is notoriously difficult to see, keeping hidden
in crops, and reluctant to fly, preferring to creep away instead.
Even when flushed, it keeps low and soon drops back into cover.
Often the only indication of its presence is the distinctive "wet-my-lips"
repetitive song of the male. It
is heavily hunted as game on passage through the Mediterranean