Coturnix pectoralisstubble quail

Geographic Range

Stubble quail are found in two separate areas in Australia. One population is in the southeast, and the other, larger population, is in the southwestern part of the country (Alderton, 1992). (Alderton, 1992)


Stubble quail inhabit a variety of temperate, terrestrial environments including agricultural areas and well-drained plains (Johnsgard, 1988; Alderton, 1992). The availability of water is a determinant of their habitat preference (Alderton, 1992). (Alderton, 1992; Johnsgard, 1988)

Physical Description

Stubble quail are 17.5 cm in length (Alderton, 1992) and weigh 99 to 128 g. Adult wing and tail lengths are 104 to 117 mm and 38 to 46 mm, respectively (Johnsgard, 1988).

Males and females are dark brown above with vertical buff streaking. The breast and abdomen are buff with brown to black streaking on the females' breast and heavier streaking and a black patch on males. Both males and females have white eye stripes topped with a thin dark brownish to black stripe. The crown is dark brown for both sexes. The throat and sides of the head are a tawny brown on males and a light brown on females (Alderton, 1992). (Alderton, 1992; Johnsgard, 1988)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes colored or patterned differently
  • Range mass
    99 to 128 g
    3.49 to 4.51 oz
  • Average length
    17.5 cm
    6.89 in


We do not have information on mating systems for this species at this time.

Breeding depends on food availability and rainfall (Johnsgard, 1988).

Eggs are approximately 30.3 mm by 23.4 mm and weigh 9.2 g. There are six to eleven eggs per clutch, and incubation lasts 18 to 21 days (Johnsgard, 1988). The chicks are considered to be mature after four months (Alderton, 1992). (Alderton, 1992; Johnsgard, 1988)

  • Range eggs per season
    6 to 11
  • Range time to hatching
    18 to 21 days
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    4 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    4 months

Chicks are precocial. (Johnsgard, 1988)

  • Parental Investment
  • no parental involvement
  • precocial
  • pre-fertilization


We do not have information on the lifespan/longevity of this species at this time.


These quail are nomadic. They travel in coveys of approximately 20 individuals from site to site, depending on the availability of food and water. If conditions are favorable, they may reside in one area for an extended period of time and breed repeatedly (Johnsgard, 1988; Alderton, 1992). (Alderton, 1992; Johnsgard, 1988)

Home Range

Ringed birds are known to have traveled 1300 km. With increased irrigation, these mobile quail have increased their range in Australia (Johnsgard, 1988). (Johnsgard, 1988)

Communication and Perception

The male utters a whistled, three-note or four-note advertisement call given as "chuch-ee-whit" or "chip-a-terweet." In addition, sometimes a sharp two-note "to-weep" is uttered. These quail will abruptly flush and land with a loud whirring of their wings (Johnsgard, 1988). (Johnsgard, 1988)

Food Habits

Stubble quail are chiefly seed eaters (Alderton, 1992). They prefer seeds of cultivated cereals, grasses, and weeds. They also consume leafy materials and a very small number of insects (Johnsgard, 1988). (Alderton, 1992; Johnsgard, 1988)

  • Animal Foods
  • insects
  • Plant Foods
  • leaves
  • seeds, grains, and nuts


We do not have information on predation for this species at this time.

Ecosystem Roles

Stubble quail have an impact on the plants and insects they consume.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Stubble quail may be included as members of an aviary.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse affects of stubble quail on humans.

Conservation Status

Stubble quail are not listed by either CIES or the IUCN.

Other Comments

Stubble quail are closely related to Coturnix novaezelandiae (Johnsgard, 1988). They were first bred in captivity by Seth-Smith in 1906 (Hopkinson, 1926). (Hopkinson, 1926; Johnsgard, 1988)


Alaine Camfield (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Janice Pappas (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



Living in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and associated islands.

World Map


uses sound to communicate


living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


union of egg and spermatozoan


an animal that mainly eats seeds


An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

internal fertilization

fertilization takes place within the female's body


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


generally wanders from place to place, usually within a well-defined range.


reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.

pet trade

the business of buying and selling animals for people to keep in their homes as pets.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


associates with others of its species; forms social groups.


uses touch to communicate


that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).


Living on the ground.

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


uses sight to communicate

young precocial

young are relatively well-developed when born


Alderton, D. 1992. The Atlas of Quails. Neptune City, NJ: T.F.H. Publications.

Hopkinson, E. 1926. Records of Birds Bred in Captivity. London: H.F. & G. Witherby.

Johnsgard, P. 1988. The Quails, Partridges, and Francolins of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.