New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..

Extra Dawn Chorus Trip

Date posted: 20-Oct-2016

Stop Press: Extra Dawn Chorus trip now scheduled for Thursday 27th October 2016. ..

2016 AGM

Date posted: 06-Sep-2016

The 2016 AGM was held at the Kohia Centre at 7:30 pm on Monday 19th September. Click here (/..

Brown Quail 

Scientific name:

 Coturnix ypsilophora australis

 

 

Conservation status:  Introduced and naturalised

Mainland status:

 Moderately common north of Waikato and Bay of Plenty
 area. Common in Northland

Size:

 18cm, 100g

Lifespan:

 Not known

Breeding:

 September - January

Diet:

 Mainly grass, weed, and shrub seeds, some vegetation, flowers and
 insects.

Brown Quail - photographer: Val SmythemanThe brown quail was introduced to both the North and South Islands of New Zealand, from Australia, around the 1860s. They now only survive in the North Island.  

They have a small round dumpy body, dark eyes and a grey bill. There are subtle differences between the male and female plumage. Both sexes look generally brown and streaky with hints of chestnut, grey, white and black. The female has a streakier appearance, the white lines on her back and wings contrasting with the black and light brown background (see photo below left). The male has more chestnut and grey in his plumage, with a strong chevron pattern on his breast and flanks and and less prominent streaking on wings and back (see photo right). The call is a plaintive 'ker-wee' with a rising inflexion, heard most often in spring.

The brown quail is mainly herbivorous; they favour the seeds of fallen grasses, weeds and shrubs, and supplement this diet with vegetation, flowers and insects. 

Brown Quail - photographer: Simon FordhamBreeding takes place between September and January, laying 7-12 eggs in a ground level nest beneath thick vegetation. The nest itself is a slight depression lined with grasses. The female alone incubates for around 21 days, the young chicks leaving the nest when extremely small and vulnerable.

Brown quail are seen frequently on Tiritiri Matangi, usually in the short grass on the road margins, on the forest floor, or dust-bathing on the tracks. They are reluctant to fly and usually scurry off into the undergrowth when approached too closely, but when they do fly it is with a fast, loud, whirring flight. 


Find out more about the brown quail at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by: Val Smytheman  © (top right) and Simon Fordham © (bottom left)

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking.