Blue quail

The blue quail or African blue quail[2] (Excalfactoria adansonii) is a species of bird in the family Phasianidae. It is found in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Blue quail
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Genus: Excalfactoria
E. adansonii
Binomial name
Excalfactoria adansonii
(Verreaux & Verreaux, 1851)
  • Synoicus adansonii
  • Coturnix adansonii
  • Coturnix adansoni


The blue quail was described as Coturnix adansonii by Jules Verreaux and Édouard Verreaux in 1851.[3] It is named after the French naturalist Michel Adanson.[4] The IOC World Bird List places it in the genus Excalfactoria,[5] while the Handbook of the Birds of the World places it in Synoicus. Sometimes considered a subspecies of the king quail, the species is monotypic.[6]

Distribution and habitatEdit

The species is found in Sub-Saharan Africa.[2] It ranges from Sierra Leone to Ethiopia, and south to Zambia, and eastward to Kenya.[7] The habitat of the blue quail excludes dry areas. Inhabiting mainly grassland and fields, the birds typically live near rivers or other bodies of water.[7]


The blue quail is 14–16.5 cm (5.5–6.5 in) long and weighs 43–44 g (1.5–1.6 oz).[7] Its legs are yellow. The colour of the eyes varies from brown in the juvenile to red in the breeding male.[2] The species is sexually dimorphic.[2] The male's plumage is mostly dark slaty-blue, with rufous patches on its wings.[8] The male has a black beak,[2] a brown head,[7] and a black and white throat.[8] There is a white patch on its breast. Its flight feathers are brown. The forehead, sides of the head and neck, and flanks of the female are orange-buff. Its crown is brown, with black mottles.[2] The female's beak is brownish. Its underparts are buff, with black bars, and its upperparts have black and rufous mottles and streaks. The juvenile is similar to the female.[2]


The blue quail is migratory. It often migrates to regions at the start of the rainy season and leaves early in the dry season.[2] It eats seeds, leaves, insects and molluscs.[7] Its voice is a piping whistle, kew kew yew.[8] It also gives the whistle tir-tir-tir when it is flushed.[2] The blue quail is monogamous. The nest is a scrape. Eggs are usually laid at the beginning of the rainy season.[2] There are 3 to 9 olive-brown eggs in a clutch. The eggs have reddish and purplish freckles. They are incubated by the female for around 16 days.[2] The chicks are precocial.[7]


The blue quail has a large range and appears to have a stable population trend. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has listed the species as least concern.[1]


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2016). "Synoicus adansonii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T22678971A92796857. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22678971A92796857.en.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k McGowan, Phil; Madge, Steve (2010). Pheasants, Partridges & Grouse: Including buttonquails, sandgrouse and allies. Bloomsbury. p. 244. ISBN 9781408135655.
  3. ^ Verreaux, Jules; Verreaux, Ed. (1851). "Description d'espèces nouvelles d'oiseaux du Gabon (côte occidentale d'Afrique)". Revue et magasin de zoologie pure et appliquée. 2 (in French). 3 (11): 513–516.
  4. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. Bloomsbury. p. 31. ISBN 9781408133262.
  5. ^ Gill, F.; Donsker, D. (eds.). "Pheasants, partridges & francolins". IOC World Bird List Version 8.1. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  6. ^ McGowan, P. J. K.; Kirwan, G. M. "African Blue Quail (Synoicus adansonii)". 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.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Pappas, J. "Coturnix adansonii". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  8. ^ a b c Redman, Nigel; Stevenson, Terry; Fanshawe, John (2010). Birds of the Horn of Africa: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia and Socotra. Bloomsbury. p. 130. ISBN 9781408135761.

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