Christopher Taylor Bird Nature Wildlife Mammal Photography
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Blue-breasted Quail Picture

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Samsonvale, SE Queensland

The Asian Blue Quail, Coturnix chinensis also known as Chinese Painted Quail, King Quail or Blue-breasted Quail is in the same family as the pheasants Phasianidae of the order Galliformes, gallinaceous birds.

This species is the smallest "true quail" and is quite common in aviculture worldwide. In the wild they range from southeastern Asia to Oceania with 10 different subspecies. It sometimes goes by the name "Button Quail", though this name properly refers to similar-looking but distantly related birds of the genus Turnix.


The king quail comes in many colors from blue to brown, silver, white, white and brown, grey, grey white brown blue etc. They can live up to 13 years under good care but usually 5-7.


Clutch size varies anywhere from 5 to 13 eggs. Before incubation starts all the eggs composing the clutch will be laid. In captivity, if the female lays too many eggs, they should be taken, as after about 10 days they go cold and die. In captivity, the ideal number of eggs in a clutch is 6 to 8. The baby quails hatch after about 19 days and look a lot like chicken chicks but smaller.

Conservation Status


King Quail (as they are most commonly known and described in Australia) are not listed as threatened on the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

State of Victoria, Australia
  • This species is listed as threatened on the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988). Under this Act, an Action Statement for the recovery and future management of this species has not been prepared.
  • On the 2007 advisory list of threatened vertebrate fauna in Victoria, this species is listed as endangered.


This quail has become very popular to keep and breed. Numerous mutations have been developed. They are quite hardy once they have adjusted to their surroundings and will keep the bottom of an aviary spotless. The cost of purchasing and maintaining them is very little. They are hyperactive breeders, a female will lay an egg a day if kept on the proper diet. She will make a soft "crowing" noise to attract a mate. These quail take only a small amount of time to feed and water. They need only a two foot long cage to breed successfully, but three times the space is needed for them to really thrive and to avoid fights. Their eggs can be easily and successfully incubated. In some cases they have been known to become hand-tamed.

Baby quail should be separated from any other quails except the mother. Aviary birds should also be excluded. Most people put a breeding cabinet inside the cage. The quails should have seed and water should be in a dispenser and in a very shallow bowl. They should be left in that cage for around 3 weeks if no other aviary is available. To get pied versions of the quail you should breed a silver or white female with a blue male. In most cases there will be more yellow chicks which go pied and less brown normal colored birds.


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