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Quail, Common

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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Johan van Rensburg
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Quail, Common

Unread post by Johan van Rensburg » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:04 pm

When one sees the brilliant colours of this bird you cannot believe that the common quail is one of the most secretive of all the savannah birds and is more often heard than seen. Shy and wary, the quail spends most of its life among dense cover. Reluctant to fly even when disturbed, it usually goes unnoticed unless flushed from hiding. Startled in this way, a quail springs suddenly into the air, often giving a low trilling call. It flies fast and low before dropping down into cover, effectively melting from view. If you keep tabs on the spot where the bird landed, you may sneak up on it and get a small opportunity to photograph it, but this strategy requires immense patience as one often misses seeing the bird until it is flushed again virtually from under your feet.

I have never had a decent opportunity to photograph this species, most often getting poor quality shots of a bird departing the scene! That is until this male bird got hoodwinked by the Roberts VII sound bytes into performing a close-up inspection. Being in full breeding regalia, it is easy to understand the bird’s curiosity affording me this magnificent chance to take some good shots of it.


It actually occurs in abundance within its range with the South African polulation estimated to be over 10 million birds!

Quails can have large broods with up to a dozen of more chicks. It is one of the most endearing sights in nature if you chance upon a number of chicks being led by its parent across an open patch.

Staple foods include seeds of grasses, cereals and weeds, but the quail also eats beetles, bugs, ants, earwigs and grasshoppers, as well as spiders, snails and worms.
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Re: Quail, Common

Unread post by Tilandi » Sat Dec 22, 2012 11:18 pm

What a lovely little quail, beautiful colours! :bcool:
Thanks for your patience on finding, photographing and sharing with us. :congrats: :thanx:
Latest lifer Wandering Albatross, Sooty Albatross, Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross, plus other pelagic birds. Land birds - Cinnamon-breasted Warbler, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Agulhas Long-billed Lark, etc

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Re: Quail, Common

Unread post by huntsman » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:07 pm


A superb photo in all senses...well done!
A bird in the hand...belongs in the bush!

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Re: Quail, Common

Unread post by johanrebel » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:15 pm

Johan van Rensburg wrote:the common quail is one of the most secretive of all the savannah birds.
Secretive for sure, but at least in South Africa the Common Quail is more of a grassland than a savannah bird. The less trees and bushes the better. The opposite holds true for the Harlequin Quail.

Has anybody positively identified a Common Quail in Kruger?

Very nice photo, by the way.


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Re: Quail, Common

Unread post by anne-marie » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:18 pm

I've got one in Addo :dance:

Common Quail/Caille des blés


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