Sunday, 7 July 2013

76. Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix)

Like the Grey Partridge, the Common Quail is also widespread through much of Europe, but only during the breeding season. It spends its winters in Africa, and is unfortunately heavily hunted on passage through the Mediterranean region. Partly due to this, and also to habitat loss caused by changing farming practices, the UK's Common Quail population is in decline. I have never seen one, and only learnt the distinctive song through hearing illegal tape-lures playing it whilst volunteering at BirdLife Malta's Raptor Camp in 2010. Despite their decline in Europe, Common Quail are permitted to be shot during the hunting season in Malta, along with the even more threatened Turtle Dove - complete madness!

Common Quails are very small and secretive with streaked and barred plumage in various shades of brown, making them very hard to see!

Common Quail, ©, via Flickr Creative Commons.
Common Quail sketch.
Another case of running out of time to finish the intricate plumage patterns, oh well!

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