Common Quail Coturnix coturnix coturnix (Linnaeus, 1758)

Order: Galliformes Family: Phasianidae Status: Breeding in Madeira

Recommended birdwatching tours to watch this bird

Half-day birdwatching - very difficult to see, mainly heard
Full-day birdwatching - very difficult to see, mainly heard

Common Quail Field ID Keys

Shape & Size

Common Quail has a small, rounded body and a pointed tail. In flight, its wings appear long and narrow.

Colour Pattern

This game bird is brown in colour with lighter streaks. Both sexes have a white stripe along its heads, but the female has a more homogeneous facial pattern than the male which has a black throat centre.


This is a heavily hunted bird that is often heard but rarely seen. It flies with very rapid wing beats and generally travels on a low, curved flight path from its starting point before dropping back down into ground cover.


Quails are generally found in drier areas, in open fields with small bushes, long grass or cereals. It is a widespread species in the warm southern parts of Europe.

Coturnix coturnix coturnix Biometrics

Wingspan: 32 - 35 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Total length: 16 - 18 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Weight: 70 - 135 g (Hume, 2002)

Other Bird Facts

Seasonality in Madeira: All year
Breeding: In Madeira this species nest in April and May while in Porto Santo its breeding season starts earlier – February. The nest is built by the female in a shallow hollow lined with some vegetation, well-hidden among shrubs and grasses. Only one clutch of 7 to 12 eggs is laid annually. Only the female sits on the eggs and until hatching it can take two to three weeks. It is believed that the male mates with several females during the same nesting season.
Diet: Feeds on seeds and small insects


Madeira local status by Correia-Fagundes et al, 2021: Rare breeding bird
Madeira local status by Romano et al, 2010: Rare breeding bird
Madeira local status by Zino et al, 1995: Rare breeding bird
Conservation status by the IUCN Red List Categories, 2013: (Linnaeus, 1758)

The species present in Madeira are the same found in Europe though there are 2 distinct sizes between them. It is believed that in the hotter months some European individuals stop here on their migration routes. This species occurs in all islands of Madeira archipelago except on the Selvagens islands.

Name of this species in other languages

Portuguese: Codorniz
German: Wachtel
Dutch: Kwartel
Swedish: Vaktel
Danish: Vagtel
Finish: Viiriäinen
Norwegian: Vaktel
Spanish: Codorniz Común
French: Caille des blés
Italian: Quaglia comune
Polish: Przepiórka
Slovak: Prepelica poľná
Czech: Křepelka polní
English synonyms:

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