It is a small, terrestrial bird that flies only to escape a danger. Adult male has blue-grey coloration, mainly on back, breast and belly, turning buffy below, with black-tipped feathers giving the scaled effect. The tail is grey. We can see a buff streaked white patch on folded wings and flanks.
On the pale buff head, there is a conspicuous short, brushy crest, buff to white, with white tip. The male has plain brownish chin coloration.
The bill is black. The eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are dark grey.
The female has similar appearance but she has smaller crest, and shows fine brown streaks on face and throat.
The immature has tipped-buff greater primary coverts.
Length: 18 cm
Wingspan: 32 – 35 cm
Weight: 85 – 135 g
The Quail feeds mainly on seeds, insects, some fruits and green grasses, but it takes a wide variety of food types. The seeds are taken from numerous plant species, and the insects are mainly beetles and grasshoppers.
It often feeds on seed in the early morning and the late afternoon.
They usually occur in pairs or small groups, but during fall and winter, they live in groups (coveys) of up to 20-50 birds or more. They roost together on the ground, in tight circle, tail to tail, for safety against predators.
The Quail prefers to run rather than take off when disturbed or threatened. It often runs for cover, but sometimes it can flush if surprised or too far from cover, and then, it runs again.
Outside the breeding season, they are gregarious and can occur with other quail species. They are very nervous birds and they run fast!
The Scaled Quail is sedentary, and only performs some movements according to the food resources.
The Scaled Quail frequents the arid and semi-arid brush and grasslands with scattered bushes. They are often seen close to standing water, and in cultivated areas.
Calls and songs:
The Quail’s territorial call is a repeated hoarse, wheezy “rrehh”. This call is sometimes alternated with dry, nasal, clicking “chow-chowk, chow-chowk”. It also utters dry, clucking “chek-ah”, and sharp, ringing “ching” as alarm call.
During the breeding season, both mates give contact calls when they are separated, a low, nasal “chip-churr”, with the second note more accented.
Methods of hunting permitted for use:
- ambush hunting,
- hunting birds,
- using automatic trap,
- using hunting dogs
Permitted hunting tools:
Hunting fire smooth-bore long-barreled arms; hunting firearm with a rifled barrel of caliber no more than 8 mm 6.5 mm; firearm combined weapons (smooth-bore and rifted gun). Including with rebarreling and auxiliary rifled barrels of caliber no more than 6.5 mm; hunting pneumatic weapon with a muzzle energy of no more than 25 J; cold bladed hunting weapon. For quail, pheasant, and sage is allowed only with the use of hunting smooth-bore firearms. Hunting for pigeons, turtledoves using hunting firearms with a rifled barrel is not allowed.
Quail are easy to clean. With poultry shears or a knife, cut off the wings, head, and feet. Starting at the head end, peel the skin and feathers down and off the carcass. Again, with poultry shears or a knife, cut all the way up the center of the back by starting at the vent and cutting upward. Open the back and remove the entrails. On a cutting board, lay the carcass on its back and with a sharp knife, cut down the center of the breast, lengthwise, along the breastbone or sternum.
With poultry shears or scissors, finish separating the carcass into two halves by cutting through the bottom of the breastbone. Clean each half carefully in cold water. Next to the ribs, thumb out the lungs that adhere there. At the top of each thigh, thumb out the kidneys. If any edible portions of the quail are bloodied or damaged by shot, trim off liberally. This leaves quail ready to cook.
Quail halves cook quickly and are great for frying or grilling. To grill, season quail halves with your favorite dry rub or marinade. Place quail on a grill heated to medium high and grill for four or five minutes a side. To fry, soak quail halves in milk, then coat with all-purpose flour well seasoned with seasoning salt and a little black pepper. Pan fry in one-third inch of canola oil, heated to 350 degrees, for seven to eight minutes on one side, and five or six minutes on the other side, or until both sides are browned. Drain on paper towels before serving.