Sunday Inspiration – New World Quail

Elegant Quail (Callipepla douglasii) Male ©WikiC

“And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.” (Exodus 16:13 KJV)

The Odontophoridae is made up of the New World Quail. This includes 2 Partridges,  3 Wood Partridges, 10 Quails, 4 Bobwhites, and 15 Wood Quail. [and a Partridge in a pear tree! Oops! Wrong article.  :0)  ]

These are not the Old World Quails that rained down on the Israelites.

“The New World quails or Odontophoridae are small birds only distantly related to the Old World quail, but named for their similar appearance and habits. The American species are in their own family Odontophoridae, whereas Old World quail are in the pheasant family Phasianidae. The family ranges from Canada through to southern Brazil, and two species, the California quail and the bobwhite quail, have been successfully introduced to New Zealand. The stone partridge and Nahan’s partridge, both found in Africa, seem to belong to the family. Species are found across a variety of habitats from tropical rainforest to deserts, although few species are capable of surviving at very low temperatures. Thirty-four species are placed in ten genera.” (Wikipedia)

Dark-backed Wood Quail (Odontophorus melanonotus) ©WikiC

Dark-backed Wood Quail (Odontophorus melanonotus) ©WikiC

New World quail are generally short-winged, -necked and -tailed (although the genus Dendrortyx is long-tailed). The bills are short, slightly curved and serrated. The legs are short and powerful, and lack the spurs of many Old World galliformes. Although they are capable of short bursts of strong flight New World quails prefer to walk, and will run from danger (or hide), taking off explosively only as a last resort. Plumage varies from dull to spectacular, and many species have ornamental crests or plumes on the head. There is moderate sexual dichromism in plumage, with males having brighter plumage.

The New World quails are shy diurnal birds and generally live on the ground; even the tree quails which roost in high trees generally feed mainly on the ground. They are generalists with regards to their diet, taking insects, seeds, vegetation and tubers. Desert species in particular consume a lot of seeds.

Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) ©StateSymbols

Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) ©StateSymbols

Northern bobwhite and California quail are popular gamebirds, with many taken by hunters, but these species have also had their ranges increased to meet hunting demand and are not threatened. They are also artificially stocked. Some species are threatened by human activity, such as the bearded tree quail of Mexico, which is threatened by habitat loss and illegal hunting.

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“The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.” (Psalms 105:40 KJV)

“Man of Sorrows” – Faith Baptist Choir

More Sunday Inspirations

Birds of the Bible – Quail

Birds of the World – Odontophoridae – New World Quail

10 Reasons Jesus Came to Die


Ian’s Bird of the Week – Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 5/21/14

One of the specialties at Bowra is the Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush a mainly terrestrial inhabitant of stony areas with scrubby bushes, particular mulga, in dry, but not desert, parts of western Queensland and NSW with a widely-separated population in Western Australia. It has suffered in eastern Australia from habitat clearance, but can usually be found at Bowra in an area called the Stony Ridge on the road that runs west of the homestead. This location, incidentally is also good for another specialty, Hall’s Babbler.

Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush (Cinclosoma castaneothorax)  by Ian

Quail-thrushes are shy and either sit tight and flush suddenly with a quail-like whirring of their wings or run for cover. The Chestnut-breasted usually runs, but this time we unwittingly encircled this male bird which took refuge in a dead tree, the first time I’ve seen any quail-thrush do so. It looked confused rather than alarmed and wandered for a long time from branch to branch providing unusually good opportunities for photography until it hopped down onto the ground and ran away. On this occasion we saw only the brightly coloured male; females have more subdued colours, brown replacing the all the black plumage except the spotty wing coverts and rely on camouflage to escape detection when nesting on the ground. Quail-thrushes feed on both insects and seeds and there are an Australasian taxon with about four species in Australia and one in New Guinea.

Chestnut Quail-thrush by Ian

Chestnut Quail-thrush by Ian

Quail-thrushes presumably get the quail part of their name from their terrestrial habits and whirring flight and the thrush part from their body shape. Cinclosoma is bird-taxonomy-speak for thrush in a confused sort of way. Confused because the Latin cinclus means thrush but derives from the Greek Kinklos a waterside bird of unknown type mentioned by Aristotle and others and though to be either an Old World Wagtail or a wader. To add to the confusion, Cinclidae refers to the Dipper family, not the thrushes, with Cinclus cinclus being the Eurasian White-breasted Dipper.


White-throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) by Ian

White-throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) by Ian


The confusion continues with actual taxonomy. The western race of the Chestnut-breasted is sometimes (IOC) treated as a separate species, the Western Quail-thrush. Meanwhile the geographically intermediate and closely-related Cinnamon Quail-thrush of central Australia desert country is sometimes split in two as well, with the Nullabor race being treated as a separate species, though it has also been lumped with the Chestnut-breasted. If that’s not enough, Birdlife International puts the Quail-thrushes in a family of their own, the Cinclosomatidae, while Birdlife Australia and the IOC lump with the Whipbirds and called them Psophodidae. (Birdlife International use to lump them and call them the Eupetidae.) I though you’d like to know! Let’s just enjoy the photos:

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737
Bird Photos
Recorder Society

Lee’s Addition:

The people asked, and He brought quail, And satisfied them with the bread of heaven. (Psa 105:40)

Thanks, Ian, for introducing us to another interesting bird. Your timing is perfect, as I am away from my computer for a few days.

Ian’s Bird of the Week
Odontophoridae – New World Quail Family


Birds of the Bible – Quail II


Brown Quail (Coturnix ypsilophora) by Ian

Brown Quail (Coturnix ypsilophora) by Ian

It has been almost two years since the Quail have been written about. Birds of the Bible – Quail was early in this blogs history, so decided to write more about them.

The Bible has four references to quail and they are all found in the Old Testament. They refer to the time that the Israelites were in the desert after they had left Egypt by way of the Red Sea. They had been complaining about their lack of food, so the LORD answered them with:

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God. And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host. (Exodus 16:11-13 KJV)

So, their request was taken care of every morning and evening. Just as today, we have a promise:

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19 KJV)

That incident took place on the 15th day of the second month after coming out of Egypt. Then right around the 20th day of the second month of the second year, they started complaining again about not having flesh to eat.

We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes. (Numbers 11:5-6 KJV)

“Poor me! All we have to eat is manna, manna, manna.” Can you hear them? God wanted them to trust Him. God promises to meet our needs, not necessarily our wants. This is where the incident written about in the first article came about. They were well taken care of, even their shoes did not wear out in the 40 years they spent in the wilderness. Read Psalm 105 where it tells about all the LORD did for them. In Psalm 105:40 it says, “The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.”

Are we satisfied with what the Lord has provided or do we go around with a protruding lower lip saying, “Poor me!” I trust your lip is normal and that you can say along with Paul:

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Philippians 4:11 KJV)

King Quail (Excalfactoria chinensis) Asian Blue by Kent Nickell

King Quail (Excalfactoria chinensis) by Kent Nickell

The Quail are numerous around the world and they are found in several families of birds. The Odontophoridae – New World Quail Family (34 members) includes not only Quails, but also 4 Bobwhites, 1 Francolin, and 4 Partridges. The Phasianidae – Pheasants, Fowl & Allies Family has 181 members. That is probably where the Quails mentioned in the wilderness came from because they are of the Old World area. That family has 13 Quail and a mix of other related birds including Turkeys, Pheasants and Peacocks. Both of these families are in the Galliformes Order.

Old World quail are the smallest birds in their family and are about 5 in (12-13 cm). The New World ones are 7-15 in (17-37 cm) long. They are very similar but are placed in the two families by ornithologists. They have short thick beaks with chunky bodies. Most do not make long flights and mainly fly when flushed. They are mostly seed and vegetation eaters, but some do eat insects.

Here in the U.S., the Northern Bobwhite’s call is very familiar.