Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Stubble Quail (Coturnix pectoralis)


French: Caille des chaumes German: Schwarzbrustwachtel Spanish: Codorniz pectoral

Coturnix pectoralis


, 1837,

New South Wales, Australia


Has been considered closest to C. coturnix and C. japonica. Sometimes considered a race of extinct †C. novaezelandiae of New Zealand. Monotypic.


Australia (mainly in SE & SW); formerly throughout Tasmania, where now extremely rare or almost extinct (only three published records since 1977).

Introduced to Hawaiian Is and New Zealand (both unsuccessfully).

Descriptive notes

16–20 cm; male 82–120 g, female 75–125 g; wingspan 25–33 cm. Male has distinctive brick-red face and throat. Female similar to that of C. coturnix... read more


Male advertising call, repeated up to c. 10 times per minute for up to 15 minutes, is a liquid... read more


Most habitats except forest, especially grassland, Spinifex thickets and well-drained... read more

Food and feeding

Primarily seeds of grasses, cultivated cereals and weeds; important species are Avena sativa, Hordeum vulgare, Lolium... read more


Nesting Aug–Mar in most of range, but may vary according to local rainfall pattern, e.g. dry years in Victoria first clutch usually... read more


Most populations nomadic, with opportunistic distribution and reproductive cycles, moving mainly in... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: safe. In Australia, range has expanded and numbers have increased as result of human activities, with species moving into... read more

Recommended citation

McGowan, P.J.K. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Stubble Quail (Coturnix pectoralis). 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 10 December 2019).