Coturnix is a genus consisting of the true quail. They are related to Pternistes Patridge-Francolins, jungle bush quail, snowcocks and Alectoris Rock Partridges. Coturnix quail and the aforementioned genera belong to their own monophyletic clade, the Coturnixininae, a sub-family within the family Phasianidae. Some authors consider this clade, together with that of a sibling assemblage, the Gallusininae, which includes quail -francolin, junglefowl, long-billed partridge and Chinese bamboo partridge warrant classification in their own family, the Coturnigallusinidae.
Wild quail live in pairs or small social groups and form larger groups during migration. Not all species migrate, but most are capable of extremely rapid, upward flight to escape from danger. Unlike related genera, true quail do not perch in trees. True quail devote much of their time to scratching and foraging for seeds and invertebrates on the ground. Typical habitats are dense vegetation such as grasslands, bushes alongside rivers and cereal fields. They are predated upon heavily by Accipitriformes.
A fossil species from the Late Oligocene - Late Miocene of SW and Central Europe was described as Coturnix gallica. Another, C. donnezani, was widespread in Early Pliocene to Early Pleistocene Europe.
- Mlíkovský, Jirí (2002a): Early Pleistocene birds of Stránská skála, Czech Republic: 2. Absolon's cave. Sylvia 38: 19-28 [English with Czech abstract]. PDF fulltext
- The genetic link between the Chinese bamboo partridge (Bambusicola thoracica) and the chicken and junglefowls of the genus Gallus.A Fumihito, T Miyake, M Takada, S Ohno, and N KondoYamashina Institute for Ornithology, Chiba Prefecture, Japan.
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- A Molecular Phylogeny of the Pheasants and Partridges Suggests That These Lineages Are Not Monophyletic R. T. Kimball,* E. L. Braun,*,† P. W. Zwartjes,* T. M. Crowe,‡,§ and J. D. Ligon*