The quail is a bird that is only occasionally poisonous. During its migration between Europe and Africa each year, the Coturnix quail species becomes poisonous for just that period of time but only in specific flight patterns. If a quail is on a western flight path, it becomes poisonous in the spring while flying back up north, while eastern flight paths result in quails becoming poisonous as they fly south. It is not known why the quails become poisonous during specific parts of their migration routes, but it is thought they may eat something toxic during their flights. Consuming poisoned quail can lead to rhabdomyolysis, a condition that causes muscle degeneration.
More about poisonous birds:
- The little shrikethrush, a small bird native to Indonesia, Australia, and New Guinea, has a toxin in its feathers that is very similar to that of the poison dart frog.
- No bird species have been found to be poisonous through their bite.
- The hooded pitohui of New Guinea was the first bird species that was documented as being poisonous in 1989.