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What is a Brown Quail?

The Brown Quail is a small, elusive ground bird, known for its rich, camouflaged plumage and distinctive call. Native to Australia and neighboring regions, it thrives in grasslands and agricultural areas. This bird's adaptability reveals much about ecosystem health. Discover how the Brown Quail's habits provide insight into our natural world. What secrets does its behavior unlock? Continue reading to explore.
Jacob Queen
Jacob Queen

The brown quail is a relatively diminutive bird that spends most of its time on the ground. The color varies within a wide range of brownish shades from reddish brown to a lighter sandy brown. The bird's body tends to be round and somewhat plump-looking with short legs and a dark beak. The brown quail is primarily found in Australia and Tasmania, but there are also populations in New Zealand, New Guinea and Indonesia. These quails are relatively popular as game birds and were exported to other areas historically for that specific purpose.

Generally speaking, the brown quail is an herbivorous eater. These birds do occasionally consume insects and worms, but that is mostly confined to juveniles who need the extra protein while growing. The main diet for adults is made up of roots, seeds and many different kinds of vegetation, including grasses and weeds. The brown quail does most of its feeding in the early morning or late evening hours, partly because it allows them to get moisture off the dew from the grass.

The brown quail is primarily found in Australia and Tasmania.
The brown quail is primarily found in Australia and Tasmania.

The most common place to find the brown quail is in pastures and open areas with high vegetation, but these birds also have a tendency to show up near roadways. The brown quail primarily lives on the ground, so it needs a good hiding place, which is provided by the grass and weeds. The birds can fly, but they aren't very fast, and they will normally only take off when they feel threatened or if they need to travel somewhere distant. Usually, the birds live in groups, and they will give off a warning chirp to let other birds know an intruder is near.

Brown quails breed all year long except for in winter, laying about 10 eggs with each clutch. For nests, they dig small depressions in the ground hidden in the high grass. The incubation takes approximately 18 days. Unlike many other birds, the infants leave the nests at a very young age when they aren’t really able to fully take care of themselves.

After leaving the nest, the young birds will continue taking food from their parents for a little while, but it doesn't take very long for them to learn how to forage. When they are first born, the birds are a lighter shade of brown, with males being slightly darker than females. As they get older, the shade of brown will gradually darken.

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Discussion Comments


Since they spend all their time on the ground, brown quail must be a great game. I'm sure dogs would hunt them easily. Of course, no one should attempt this unless the laws of the area or state allow brown quails to be hunted. They're a beautiful species and we certainly wouldn't want to endanger their existence by hunting them freely.

But the fact that they can't really fly and that they lay a lot of eggs suggests that this was a preferred game bird by hunters throughout history.


@candyquilt-- I don't think so. I don't think that the habitat is right for them in the States. I've only heard of brown quails living in New Zealand and Australia. I suppose you could do some research about whether this type of quail was ever brought to the US. But they're certainly not a domestic US bird.

There are other types of quails in the States though, like the California quail, which as the name suggests, lives in California.


Can I raise brown quail in the States? Does anyone here raise them?

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    • The brown quail is primarily found in Australia and Tasmania.
      By: lesniewski
      The brown quail is primarily found in Australia and Tasmania.