Overview

Distribution

Range Description

Coturnix novaezelandiae was endemic to North, South and Great Barrier Islands, New Zealand (Marchant and Higgins 1993). It was considered fairly common until the mid-19th century, but declined rapidly to extinction by 1875 (Holdaway 1999). Recent suggestions that a quail population on Tiritiri Matangi Island may be a surviving form of this species were disproven by genetic testing, showing them to be Brown Quail C. ypsilophora (Seabrook-Davison et al. 2009).

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Range

Formerly New Zealand. Extinct; last reported 1875.

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Geographic Range

New Zealand quail were the only quail endemic to New Zealand (Alderton, 1992) and they are now extinct (Brooks, 2000).

Biogeographic Regions: oceanic islands (Native )

Other Geographic Terms: island endemic

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

New Zealand quail were 17.5 (Alderton, 1992) to 22 cm (Madge and McGowan, 2002) long and weighed 200 to 220 g. Measurements of two males showed wing lengths of 118 and 122 mm, tail lengths of 45 and 47 mm and a tarsal length of 23 mm. For one female specimen, wing length was 119 mm and for two female specimens, tail lengths were 42 and 43 mm and tarsal lengths were 23 and 28 mm (Madge and McGowan, 2002).

New Zealand quail were a dark brownish color above with buff to cream-colored vertical markings on each feather covering the back and upper parts of the wings. The wing primaries were edged in a golden buff. The breast and abdomen of the male were buff with heavy markings of dark brown to black. The female had a buff breast and abdomen with feathers edged in a dark brown. For the male, an orangish-light rufous color covered the area around the eye extending down the side of the face and the front of the throat. For the female, this area was a light buff color with a darker buff surrounding the eye. Both males and females had a brown crown and a whitish strip extending from the beak over the eye to the back of the neck (Alderton, 1992). New Zealand quail on the North Island may have been darker overall than those on the South Island, however, with few specimen available it is difficult to determine the range of morphological variation. Juveniles were similar in color to females, but had more pale coloration on their underparts (Madge and McGowan, 2002).

Range mass: 200 to 220 g.

Range length: 17.5 to 22 cm.

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes colored or patterned differently

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It inhabited open habitats, especially grass-covered downs.


Systems
  • Terrestrial
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These quail were terrestrial, temperate species that inhabited grasslands (Johnsgard, 1988) and perhaps lowland tussock grassland and open fernlands (Madge and McGowan, 2002).

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland

  • Madge, S., P. McGowan. 2002. Pheasants, Partridges and Grouse: A Guide to the Pheasants, Partridges, Quails, Grouse, Guineafowl, Buttonquails and Sandgrouse of the World. London: Christopher Helm.
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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

New Zealand quail foraged on the ground in search of seeds (Johnsgard, 1988). Stomach contents of dead quail had green grass leaves as well as seed (Madge and McGowan, 2002).

Plant Foods: leaves; seeds, grains, and nuts

Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore , Granivore )

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

New Zealand quail had an impact on the plants they consumed.

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Predation

We do not have information on predation for this species at this time.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

Male New Zealand quail uttered an advertisement call described as "twit-twit-twit-twee-twit," that was repeated in rapid succession (Madge and McGowan, 2002).

Communication Channels: acoustic

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

We do not have information on the lifespan/longevity of this species at this time.

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Reproduction

We do not have information on the mating system of New Zealand quail, however, given that a family of nine quail that were shot and killed consisted of an adult male, an adult female, and seven young, it is posible that they were monogamous.

New Zealand quail nests were shallow scrapes in the ground with grass lining. Ten to twelve eggs were laid per clutch, and incubation time was 21 days. The eggs were a buff color with dark brown blotches or a whitish-yellow color with smudged brown spots. With respect to the breeding season, young were seen as late as April on the South Island (Madge and McGowan, 2002).

Range eggs per season: 10 to 12.

Average time to hatching: 21 days.

Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); fertilization (Internal )

We do not have information on parental care for this species, however, given that a family of nine quail that were shot and killed consisted of an adult male, an adult female, and seven young, it is likely that there was both male and female parental care. Chicks were precocial.

Parental Investment: no parental involvement; precocial ; pre-fertilization

  • Johnsgard, P. 1988. The Quails, Partridges, and Francolins of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Madge, S., P. McGowan. 2002. Pheasants, Partridges and Grouse: A Guide to the Pheasants, Partridges, Quails, Grouse, Guineafowl, Buttonquails and Sandgrouse of the World. London: Christopher Helm.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Coturnix novaezelandiae

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 2 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

AACCGATGACTATTCTCAACTAACCACAAAGACATTGGCACTCTTTACTTAATTTTCGGCACATGAGCAGGCATAGCCGGTACAGCACTT---AGCCTGTTAATCCGCGCAGAACTAGGACAACCAGGTACCCTCCTAGGAGAC---GACCAAATTTATAATGTAATTGTCACAGCACATGCCTTCGTCATAATCTTCTTTATAGTTATACCAATCATGATCGGAGGTTTCGGAAACTGACTAGTCCCACTTATA---ATCGGAGCCCCAGACATAGCATTTCCACGTATGAACAACATAAGCTTCTGACTCCTCCCACCCTCCTTCCTCCTTCTACTAGCTTCCTCCACCGTTGAAGCTGGTGCCGGCACAGGATGAACCGTTTACCCACCCCTAGCCAGCAACCTTGCCCATGCTGGAGCATCAGTAGATCTA---GCCATCTTTTCCCTACACTTAGCAGGTGTATCATCAATCCTAGGGGCTATCAACTTTATCACCACCATTATCAATATAAAACCCCCTGCACTATCACAATATCAAACACCCTTATTTGTTTGATCAGTCCTCATCACTGCCATTCTACTTCTACTCTCCCTCCCAGTCCTAGCTGCC---GGCATTACCATGCTTCTCACTGACCGAAATCTC
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Coturnix novaezelandiae

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EX
Extinct

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Symes, A. & Butchart, S.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species formerly occurred on New Zealand's South Island, but is now Extinct, probably due to diseases spread by introduced game birds. A bird that died in 1875 is thought to represent the last individual of the species.
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The extinction of New Zealand quail is thought to have been caused by the appearance of diseases from introduced game birds. They were also heavily hunted and their numbers declined in the 1850's. This species of Coturnix became extinct in 1875 (Alderton, 1992; Brooks, 2000).

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: extinct

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Threats

Major Threats
Extinction was initially thought to have been caused by large-scale burning, predation by dogs, cats and rats, and grazing by sheep (Marchant and Higgins 1993). More recently, diseases spread by introduced gamebirds have been hypothesised to account for its rapid extinction (Knox and Walters 1994).

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse affects of New Zealand quail on humans.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

New Zealand quail were hunted and eaten as food (Alderton, 1992).

Positive Impacts: food

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Wikipedia

New Zealand Quail

The New Zealand quail (Coturnix novaezelandiae), or koreke (the Māori name), has been extinct since 1875. The male and female were similar, except the female was lighter. The first scientist to describe it was Sir Joseph Banks when he visited New Zealand on James Cook's first voyage. Terrestrial and temperate, this species inhabited lowland tussock grassland and open fernlands.[2] The first specimen was collected in 1827 by Jean René Constant Quoy and Joseph Paul Gaimard on Dumont D'Urville's voyage. It has sometimes been considered conspecific with the Australian stubble quail, which would then be named Coturnix novaezelandiae pectoralis as it was only scientifically described after the New Zealand birds were.

Research was conducted between 2007 and 2009 into whether the quails on Tiritiri Matangi Island – which was spared the worst impact of introduced predators – might be a surviving population of this species, or koreke-brown quail (Coturnix ypsilophora) hybrids.[3] This two year genetic study showed instead that the quail on Tiritiri Matangi are Australian brown quail, Coturnix ypsilophora.[4] Sequences were derived for all quail species within the Australian and New Zealand Coturnix sp. complex. A neighbour-joining phylogenetic distance tree was constructed in PAUP4 with 1000 bootstrap replications to determine the strength of groupings. The sequences used for the tree were derived from 3 separate mitochondrial control region sequences. This tree analysis also showed a close phylogenetic relationship between the New Zealand quail Coturnix novaezelandiae and the Australian stubble quail Coturnix pectoralis, but confirmed that they are separate species.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Coturnix novaezelandiae". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ [1], Pappas, J. 2002. "Coturnix novaezelandiae", Animal Diversity Web.
  3. ^ NZ quail may not be extinct say scientists after Haurauki Gulf island discovery, Massey News, 24 March 2007.
  4. ^ Scientists nail quail mystery — Tiri quails found to be Aussie imports, Massey News, 23 October 2009.
  5. ^ Seabrook-Davison, M.; Huynen, L.; Lambert, D.M.; and Brunton D.H. (2009). Ancient DNA Resolves Identity and Phylogeny of New Zealand's Extinct and Living Quail (Coturnix sp.). PLoS ONE 4(7), e6400. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006400.
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