Females look similar to males but don’t come in shades of blue
King Quail Scientific Classification
- Scientific Name
- Synoicus chinensis
King Quail Conservation Status
King Quail Facts
- small insects, seeds, grasses, plants, small nuts, berries, and grains.
- Name Of Young
- Group Behavior
- Fun Fact
- Females look similar to males but don’t come in shades of blue
- Estimated Population Size
- Biggest Threat
- Habitat loss, climate change, and overhunting
- Most Distinctive Feature
- Small size
- Distinctive Feature
- rust-colored bellies
- Incubation Period
- 16 days
- Age Of Independence
- 6 to 7 weeks
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“They are capable of flying but prefer to spend their time on the ground.”
King quail (Synoicus chinensis) are small “true quail” native to Asia and Australia. They inhabit shrublands, grasslands, and swamps and spend much of their time foraging on the ground in flocks. These birds have rounded bodies and come in varying shades of blue, silver, and maroon, with their signature rusty red undersides. Learn everything there is to know about this quail species, including where to find it, what it eats, and how it behaves.
5 Amazing King Quail Facts
- You can find king quail worldwide in Aviculture, but they inhabit Southern Asia, Oceania, and parts of Australia in the wild.
- Females look similar to males but don’t come in shades of blue.
- Their calls sound like a descending whistle or raspy snoring.
- They can fly but prefer to stay on the ground. They also cannot fly long distances.
- They have a short lifespan of around two years but can live up to 13 in captivity.
Where to Find the King Quail
The king quail is native to Asia and Australia and found in at least 19 countries, including China, India, Singapore, Guam, and Thailand. In Aviculture, you can find king quail worldwide. They range from Southern China to Oceania to Southeastern Australia in the wild. They live in tropical and temperate shrublands, grasslands, swamps, and near coastal areas. Look for them on the ground as they forage in flocks, and keep an eye out for their rusty red undersides.
King Quail Nest
Males select the site in grasslands or swamps and help collect material as the females construct the nest. She lines a natural depression with grass, needles, and sedge.
The king quail (Synoicus chinensis) is from the Galliformes order in the Phasianidae family, encompassing heavy ground-living birds. It’s in the same family as pheasants, chickens, and turkeys. The Synoicus genus contains four species of Old World quail.
The king quail has six recognized subspecies:
- E. c. chinensis: Found in India and Sri Lanka to Malaya, Indochina, southeastern China, and Taiwan
- Nicobar blue-breasted quail: Found on Andaman and Nicobar Islands
- E. c. lineata: Found in the Philippines, Borneo, Lesser Sundas, Sulawesi, and Sula Islands
- E. c. lepida: Found in the Bismarck Archipelago
- E. c. australis: Found in eastern Australia
- E. c. colletti: Found in northern Australia
Size, Appearance, & Behavior
The king quail is the smallest “true quail,” measuring 4.9 to 5.5 inches long and weighing 0.99 to 1.4 ounces, with an unknown wingspan. These rounded birds come in many colors: blue, brown, silver, maroon, and black. Their feet and legs are orange, their beaks are black, and their bellies are a red or rust color. They also have black and white striped necks. Females look similar to males, except they don’t come in shades of blue.
These birds are social, forming long-term pair bonds and foraging on the ground with other quail. This species is not known for being overly noisy, but males may get loud during the breeding season. Their calls sound like a descending whistle or raspy snoring. They are capable of flying but prefer to spend their time on the ground. They don’t fly as well as other birds and do not travel long distances.
Migration Pattern and Timing
The king quail is nonmigratory, choosing to stay in its environment year-round. Also, these birds prefer to remain on the ground and can only fly short distances.
King quails are omnivores who forage from the ground.
What Does the King Quail Eat?
They eat small insects, seeds, grasses, plants, small nuts, berries, and grains. They form “coveys,” or groups of 10 to 30, to forage and roost. You can find them pecking on the ground in the early morning and mid to late afternoon.
Predators, Threats, and Conservation Status
The IUCN lists the king quail as LC or “least concern.” Due to its extensive range and stable population, this species does not meet “threatened” status thresholds. Their exact threats are unknown, but they may be vulnerable to habitat changes from the agricultural industry, climate change, and overhunting.
What Eats the King Quail?
King quail predators include foxes, raccoons, squirrels, coyotes, bobcats, skunks, domestic dogs, and cats. Nest predation is also an issue for this species; their young are vulnerable to hawks, owls, rats, and weasels. When threatened, the king quail postures low to the ground emitting a rapid peeping call, and may lunge at or chase an intruder, especially if it’s another bird.
Reproduction, Young, and Molting
King quail are monogamous and form strong pair bonds. This species’ mating system has not been thoroughly researched, so we don’t know much about their courting behavior and reproduction habits. Females typically lay 5 to 13 eggs and incubate them for 16 days. Their young leave the nest shortly after hatching and learn how to fend for themselves by following their mother. They are independent around six to seven weeks and sexually mature under three months. Their average lifespan is 2.8 years, but they can live up to 13 years in captivity.
The global king quail population is unknown but is estimated to be stable without evidence. They are also not experiencing any extreme fluctuations or fragmentations in their numbers.
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King Quail FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Can king quails fly?
They are capable of flying but prefer to spend their time on the ground. They don’t fly as well as other birds and do not travel long distances.
Where do king quail live?
The king quail is native to Asia and Australia and found in at least 19 countries, including China, India, Singapore, Guam, and Thailand.
How big is a king quail?
The king quail is the smallest “true quail,” measuring 4.9 to 5.5 inches long and weighing 0.99 to 1.4 ounces, with an unknown wingspan.
What do king quails sound like?
Their calls sound like a descending whistle or raspy snoring.
Do king quail migrate?
The king quail is nonmigratory, choosing to stay in its environment year-round.
What do king quail eat?
They eat small insects, seeds, grasses, plants, small nuts, berries, and grains.
What threatens the king quail?
Their exact threats are unknown, but they may be vulnerable to habitat changes from the agricultural industry, climate change, and overhunting.
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- Mdahlem.net, Available here: https://mdahlem.net/birds/1/kquail.php
- PLOS one / Elizabeth Adkins - Regan, Available here: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0155877
- BirdLife International, Available here: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22678979/92797212