Overview

Distribution

Range

Wet grasslands of Africa south of the Sahara.

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Geographic Range

In Africa, these quail range from Sierra Leone to Ethiopia south to Zambia, Cape Province, and Natal (Rutgers and Norris, 1970; Johnsgard, 1988), then eastward to Kenya (Jackson, 1926). They are absent from the Congo basin and other dry areas (Rutgers and Norris, 1970; Johnsgard, 1988). These quail are considered to be partially migratory (Jackson, 1926; Clancy, 1967).

Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )

  • Clancy, P. 1967. Gamebirds of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Purnell & Sons Ltd.
  • Jackson, F. 1926. Notes on the Bame Birds of Kenya and Uganda. London: Williams & Norgate, Ltd.
  • Johnsgard, P. 1988. The Quails, Partridges, and Francolins of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Rutgers, A., K. Norris. 1970. Encyclopedia of Aviculture, Vol. 1. London: Blandford Press.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

African blue quail are 14 to 16.5 cm in length. Wing length for males is 78 to 82 mm and 80 to 84 mm for females. Tail length is 26 to 32 mm and 29 to 31 mm for males and females, respectively (Clancy, 1967; Johnsgard, 1988).

In general, these quail closely resemble Coturnix chinensis, except that the male lacks the chestnut coloring underneath, and the female lacks the heavier black barring on the wing coverts (Johnsgard, 1988). The male has a brown head, cheeks and side of his head (Rutgers and Norris, 1970). A distinctive bluish color is evident when the male is flushed from cover. As with C. chinensis, the female lacks the white and black throat markings, gray underneath, and chestnut coloring on the flanks (Johnsgard, 1988).

Range mass: 43 to 44 g.

Range length: 14 to 16.5 cm.

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes colored or patterned differently

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Ecology

Habitat

African blue quail inhabit terrestrial grasslands and cultivated areas (Jackson, 1926) in tropical regions. Specifically, they occur in pairs in lush grasses bordering rivers (Clancy, 1967), wet grassy or marshy areas (Johnsgard, 1988), grassy plains and meadows, and weedy cover in fallow cultivated fields and gardens (Clancy, 1967).

Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland

Wetlands: marsh

Other Habitat Features: agricultural

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

These quail feed on a variety of grass and weed seeds, green vegetation, insects (Jackson, 1926; Johnsgard, 1988), and small land mollusks (Clancy, 1967; Johnsgard, 1988). These quail become fat after extensive eating in preparation for migration (Jackson, 1926).

Animal Foods: insects; mollusks

Plant Foods: leaves; seeds, grains, and nuts

Primary Diet: omnivore

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

These quail affect the insect and plant popluations they feed on.

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Predation

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

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Known prey organisms

Coturnix adansonii preys on:
Mollusca
Insecta

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

During the breeding season, the call of the male is a three note piping whistle, where the notes descend in scale. The first note is shrill and the last two notes are softer in tone. When flushed from cover, a squeaky three-note call is uttered (Clancy, 1967).

Communication Channels: acoustic

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

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

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Reproduction

We do not have information on the mating system for this species at this time.

The breeding season occurs during a prolonged period of time, depending on temperature and rainfall patterns (Johnsgard, 1988). For example, in South Africa, the breeding season is December to April (Jackson, 1926; Johnsgard, 1988), whereas it is from May to July in Uganda (Johnsgard, 1988).

The nest consists of a scrape on the ground in weeds or grass lined with a bit of grass leaves or roots (Clancy, 1967). Clutches are from six (Jackson, 1926) to nine eggs that are olive-green or pale yellowish-brown and are unspotted and rough in texture. The thick-shelled eggs are 24 to 29 mm long by 19 to 21 mm wide (Clancy, 1967). They weigh approximately 4.5 g. Incubation time is 16 days (Johnsgard, 1988).

Breeding season: December to July

Range eggs per season: 6 to 9.

Average time to hatching: 16 days.

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

Incubation time is 16 days. Chicks are precocial and are cared for by both parents and remain in the family group until they can fly.

Parental Investment: no parental involvement; precocial ; pre-fertilization; pre-hatching/birth (Protecting); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Male, Female)

  • Clancy, P. 1967. Gamebirds of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Purnell & Sons Ltd.
  • Jackson, F. 1926. Notes on the Bame Birds of Kenya and Uganda. London: Williams & Norgate, Ltd.
  • Johnsgard, P. 1988. The Quails, Partridges, and Francolins of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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Conservation

Conservation Status

African blue quail have not been listed by either the IUCN or CITES.

CITES: no special status

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse affects of these quail on humans.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

African blue quail provide food for humans in Africa and are sometimes kept in aviaries.

Positive Impacts: pet trade ; food

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Wikipedia

Blue Quail

The blue quail or African blue quail, (Coturnix adansonii) is a species of bird in the Phasianidae family.

Geographic Range[edit]

The species ranges from Sierra Leone to Ethiopia, and south to Zambia, and eastward to Kenya, and is migratory. The habitat of the blue quail excludes excessively dry areas.

Habitat[edit]

Inhabiting mainly grassland and fields, the birds typically live near rivers or other bodies of water.

References[edit]

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