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King Quail

(Excalfactoria chinensis)
Alternate name(s): "Blue-breasted Quail", "Asian Blue Quail", "Chines Painted Quail", "Chinese Quail", "Chestnut-bellied Quail", "Least Quail", "Dwarf Quail", "Swamp Quail*"
Size: 13-15 cm
Weight: 29-48 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See King Quail at Wikipedia .

Click here for classification information

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range


Click here for sighting information


Race "australis"



Near-dorsal view of a male King Quail in flight (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Postman's Track, Lake Samsonvale, QLD, November 2019]

Dead young male King Quail (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Sandy Camp Wetlands, Lytton, QLD, March 2019]

Dead young male King Quail (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Sandy Camp Wetlands, Lytton, QLD, March 2019]

Frontal view of a male King Quail, probably race "chinensis", in captivity (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)


Frontal view of a female King Quail, probably race "chinensis", in captivity (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)

Breeding information

Breeding season: Jan - Dec Eggs: 4 - 10 Incubation period: 18 - 20 days Fledging age: ?

The breeding season of King Quails depends on geographic latitude. While they can, in principle breed any time of year, their core breeding periods are September to March in the south-eastern part of the continent and February to May in the North.

Quail vs. Button-quail

Although the two genera of the true quails, Coturnix, and the button-quails, Turnix, are outwardly very similar, and therefore often listed together, there are significant differences between them (which is the reason why they are in different family groups here).

Genus Coturnix Turnix
Common name True quails Button-quails
Similar species Chicken-like Wader-like
Toes 4 toes, one of which points backward 3 toes, all of which point forward
Nesting habits Communal Non-communal
Main incubator Female Male
Incubation period ca. 21 days ca. 14 days
No. of eggs 8-12 ≤ 4

Nest building: ? Incubation: Female & male Dependent care: Female & male

King Quail chicks are precocial, i.e. they leave the nest very shortly after hatchling and will feed themselves, under the supervision of their parents.


"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Basket Material: Dry grass Height above ground: N/A

The nest is either on the ground beside a grass tussock or in a grass tussock.


"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 20 x 15 mm Colour: Creamy, with light-brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval

Two King Quail eggs in a communal nest (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)


For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

kquail_me_20191211_2.m4a australis
Contact calls © ME
kquail_me_20191211.m4a australis
Contact calls (Q&A) © ME
kquail_me_20191214.m4a australis
Various (Q&A?), (+ Golden-headed Cisticola) © ME

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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