Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Asian Blue Quail (Synoicus chinensis)


French: Caille peinte German: Zwergwachtel Spanish: Codorniz china
Other common names: Blue-breasted Quail, King Quail

Tetrao chinensis


, 1766,

China and the Philippines = Nanking (Nanjing), China


Previously placed in genus Excalfactoria or Coturnix. Closely related to, and sometimes considered conspecific with, S. adansonii (which see). With transfer of present species from Excalfactoria to Synoicus, E Australian subspecies name australis becomes preoccupied by S. ypsilophorus australis, and gives place to next available name, victoriae (of which cairnsae is a junior synonym). Geographical variation minor and largely clinal, with supposed differences in urgent need of taxonomic review#R. Races palmeri and lineatulus often included in nominate; some authors have subsumed Australian forms (colletti, victoriae) within lineatus, with which present treatment also synonymizes manillensis (N Philippines), caerulescens (NW Borneo) and minimus (Sulawesi). Ten subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. c. chinensis (Linnaeus, 1766) – India and Sri Lanka E through Indochina to SE China (N to Fujian and Shandong) and Taiwan, and S to Malay Peninsula.
  • S. c. trinkutensis (Richmond, 1902) – Nicobar Is (Nancowry and Car Nicobar subgroups); said to occur also in Andaman Is (race unspecified).
  • S. c. palmeri (Riley, 1919) – Sumatra and Java.
  • S. c. lineatus (Scopoli, 1786) – Philippines, Borneo and Sulawesi (including Togian Is).
  • S. c. lineatulus (Rensch, 1931) – W & C Lesser Sundas (Lombok E to Timor).
  • S. c. novaeguineae (Rand, 1941) – mountains of New Guinea (E to Central Highlands).
  • S. c. papuensis (Mayr & Rand, 1936) – SC & SE New Guinea (E from Trans-Fly).
  • S. c. lepidus (Hartlaub, 1879) – Bismarck Archipelago (except islands in extreme N).
  • S. c. colletti (Mathews, 1912) – Western Australia (Kimberley) and N Northern Territory (Arnhem Land).
  • S. c. victoriae (Mathews, 1912) – E Australia.
  • Introduced to Guam, Reunion and SE Australia.

    Descriptive notes

    12–15 cm; 20–57 g; wingspan c. 25 cm. Male very distinctive, differs from similar S. adansonii in chestnut belly and lack of chestnut wing patch. Female... read more


    Advertisement call of male, which is usually given at dusk but both day and night during breeding... read more


    Dense and swampy grassland, shrubland, swamp edges, cultivation (e.g. paddyfields) with unkept... read more

    Food and feeding

    Apparently mainly grass seeds, green blades and some small insects (especially termites), both adults and larvae. Forages on the ground,... read more


    Season probably related to rainfall patterns, with eggs reported as follows: Sept–Jan in S Australia; Jan–May in N Australia;... read more


    In India, nomadic or migratory, for breeding moving to areas where rains have ended. Recorded W to... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Few detailed data available. Very widespread, but little recorded in most parts of range, although considered common in Malaysia. In... read more

    Recommended citation

    McGowan, P.J.K. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Asian Blue Quail (Synoicus chinensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 12 December 2019).