Fact Sheet
With its tasty, tender meat, quail is a long-standing favourite with consumers and mainly available at the latter end of the year.

Quails have pinkish-brown feathers with a striped head (order: galliformes; family: phasianidae) and are native to Asia and Africa.

Quails are small migrating birds that first appeared in Europe some 10,000 years ago, at which time they were already farmed by the Egyptians. The smallest of the galliformes, they include some 200 different species. The American quail (colinus virgianus) is a larger relative of the European quail. They are easily identified by the male's three-syllable song and can be either wild or domestic. Wild quail, known as the common or European quail (coturnix coturnix coturnix), live in fairly humid grain-growing plains which provide it with an abundant food supply. The hunting season opens in August. They cross the Mediterranean and the Sahara during their annual migration in one long flight alighting in Africa where they spend the winter. Increasingly rare, quails (length: 16-18 cm, weight: 80-135 g, wingspan: 32-35 cm) always fly at night, flying low above ground or water.

Domestic quails (coturnix coturnix japonica - Japanese quail) were domesticated by the Japanese about nine hundred years ago, originally as a songbird. The species was developed in 1910 by a Mr Oda who worked on the selection of breeder bloodlines. While fairly similar to the wild species, Japanese quail is slightly heavier (150-300 g). Prolific egg-layers, Japanese quail can produce over three hundred eggs a year once they reach the age of sixty days.



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