Common quail Coturnix coturnix, photographed by Wr.

Belongs within: Phasianidae.

Coturnix includes the Old World quails: small, short-tailed, often cryptically coloured gamebirds. They are relatively strong long-distance fliers, and include the only migratory phasianids. The king quail Coturnix chinensis, found in the wild from southern Asia to eastern Australia, is commonly kept as a cagebird; males of this species have black and white face markings together with blue coloration on the flanks and sides of the neck. The swamp quail C. ypsilophora of Tasmania and the brown quail C. australis of mainland Australia and New Guinea are uniformly brownish birds that are most commonly found in damp, grassy habitats. The Madagascar partridge Margaroperdix madagascariensis may fall within this cluster; it is larger than species currently placed in Coturnix.

Characters (from Madge & McGowan 2002): Bill slender; tail with 8-12 insignificant feathers, concealed by the coverts; outer primaries markedly long; tarsi unspurred.

<==Coturnix Bonnaterre 1791CC10 (see below for synonymy)
    |  i. s.: C. coromandelica (Gmelin 1789) [=Tetrao coromandelicus]CC10
    |         C. delegorgueiJT12
    |         C. longipes (Milne-Edwards 1869) (see below for synonymy)M02
    |--C. chinensis (Linnaeus 1766)BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
    |    |--C. c. chinensisL81
    |    `--C. c. lineataL81
    `--+--+--C. australis (Latham 1802)BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
       |  `--C. ypsilophora Bosc 1792BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
       `--+--Margaroperdix madagascariensisBKB15
          `--+--+--C. coturnix (Linnaeus 1758)BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
             |  |    |--C. c. coturnixL81
             |  |    |--C. c. africanaL81
             |  |    `--C. c. confisaRN72
             |  `--C. japonicaBKB15 [=C. coturnix japonicaL81]
             `--+--C. novaezelandiae Quoy & Gaimard in Dumont d’Urville 1830BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                `--C. pectoralis Gould 1837BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)

Coturnix Bonnaterre 1791CC10 [=Ortyx Chenu & des Murs 1854 non Stephens 1819B94; incl. Palaeoperdix Milne-Edwards 1869M02, Synaecus Agassiz 1846CC10, Synoicus Gould 1843CC10, Ypsilophorus Mathews 1912CC10, Zecoturnix Iredale & Mathews 1926CC10; Coturnicini, Ortygini]

Coturnix australis (Latham 1802)BKB15, CC10 [=Perdix australisCC10, C. ypsilophora australisCC10, *Synaecus australisCC10, Synoecus (l. c.) australisCC10, *Synoicus ypsilophorus australisCC10, WS48, *Ypsilophorus australisCC10; incl. C. australis mungi Mathews 1912WS48, C. australis rogersi Mathews 1912WS48]

Coturnix chinensis (Linnaeus 1766)BKB15, CC10 [=Tetrao chinensisCC10, Excalfactoria chinensisCC10, Excalphatoria (l. c.) sinensisCC10]

Coturnix coturnix (Linnaeus 1758)BKB15, CC10 [=Tetrao coturnixCC10, *Ortyx coturnixB94; incl. *Coturnix communisCC10, Scolopax ghardalamensis Fischer & Stephan 1974M02]

Coturnix longipes (Milne-Edwards 1869) [=*Palaeoperdix longipes, Palaeortyx longipes; incl. Palaeocryptonyx gaillardi Ennouchi 1930, Proalector gaillardi, Palaeortyx phasianoides grivensis Ballmann 1969 non Lydekker 1893, Palaeortyx intermedia Ballmann 1969]M02

Coturnix novaezelandiae Quoy & Gaimard in Dumont d’Urville 1830BKB15, CC10 [=C. novaezealandiaeCC10, *Zecoturnix novaezelandiaeCC10; incl. C. novaezealandiae pounami Mathews 1944CC10]

Coturnix pectoralis Gould 1837BKB15, CC10 [=C. novaezelandiae pectoralisS90; incl. C. pectoralis praetermissa Mathews 1912WS48]

Coturnix ypsilophora Bosc 1792BKB15, CC10 [=C. ypsilophorusCC10, Synoicus ypsilophorusCC10; incl. Synoicus diemenensis Gould 1847CC10, Synoecus (l. c.) diemenensisCC10]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1–281.

[BKB15] Burleigh, J. G., R. T. Kimball & E. L. Braun. 2015. Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 53–63.

[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[L81] Long, J. L. 1981. Introduced Birds of the World: The worldwide history, distribution and influence of birds introduced to new environments. Reed: Sydney.

Madge, S., & P. McGowan. 2002. Pheasants, Partridges and Grouse: A guide to the pheasants, partridges, quails, grouse, guineafowl, buttonquails and sandgrouse of the world. Christopher Helm: London.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[RN72] Rutgers, A., & K. A. Norris (eds.) 1972. Encyclopaedia of Aviculture vol. 1. Blandford Press: London.

[S90] Storr, G. M. 1990. Birds of Shark Bay area, Western Australia. In: Berry, P. F., S. D. Bradshaw & B. R. Wilson (eds) Research in Shark Bay: Report of the France-Australe Bicentenary Expedition Committee pp. 299–311. Western Australian Museum.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M., & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1–126.

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