The quail was introduced to both the North and South Island of New Zealand in the 1860’s. The main reason for their introduction was as a game bird for hunting. A flock of quail is called a covey. Males and females are much the same size but have different colours and patterns, the female being a plainer brown. The plume feathers on the quail’s head looks like one feather but are actually six feathers which overlap. They are nervous of humans and will run for cover if surprised. When they are feeding unusally several birds will be on lookout duties on the outside edge of the group, ready to alert the others to danger.
Like many of our ground dwelling and nesting birds koreke, our own native New Zealand quail, became extinct in 1875 following the introduction of rats, stoats, possums and other predatory pest species.
California quail websites
- Radio NZ Bird Watching – California Quail
- NZ Birds Online California quail page
- Oiseaux-birds California quail page
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology California quail page