Pheasants and Partridges (Phasianidae)

Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix) - HBW 2, p. 509

French: Caille des blés German: Wachtel Spanish: Codorniz Común
Other common names: European/Eurasian (Migratory) Quail (coturnix); African Quail (africana)

Taxonomy: Tetrao Coturnix Linnaeus, 1758, Europe, Asia, Africa = Sweden.
Forms superspecies with C. japonica, and possibly also with C. pectoralis. Internal taxonomy complex and somewhat confused. Present species has been considered to include C. japonica as a race, but the two are apparently sympatric in Mongolia. African populations may constitute a separate species, C. africana. Birds of E & C Africa often considered to merit subspecific distinction from those in S Africa, and thus awarded race erlangeri; this race formerly applied to Ethiopian population only. Birds of S Africa frequently transferred to nominate cotur.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Tetrao Coturnix Linnaeus, 1758, Europe, Asia, Africa = Sweden.
Forms superspecies with C. japonica, and possibly also with C. pectoralis. Internal taxonomy complex and somewhat confused. Present species has been considered to include C. japonica as a race, but the two are apparently sympatric in Mongolia. African populations may constitute a separate species, C. africana. Birds of E & C Africa often considered to merit subspecific distinction from those in S Africa, and thus awarded race erlangeri; this race formerly applied to Ethiopian population only. Birds of S Africa frequently transferred to nominate coturnix, as deemed to be inseparable; under such an arrangement, erlangeri applied to birds of E & C Africa, and sometimes raised to full species level. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • coturnix (Linnaeus, 1758) - British Is and NW Africa E to EC Russia and EC India, and possibly to Bangladesh; winters mainly in Sahel zone of Africa and C & S India.
  • confisa Hartert, 1917 - Canary Is, Madeira and Azores.
  • inopinata Hartert, 1917 - Cape Verde Is.
  • africana Temminck & Schlegel, 1849 - sub Saharan Africa, from Ethiopia and Uganda to S Angola and South Africa (Cape Province), and also Madagascar and Comoros Is; birds from S Africa winter in Angola, S Zaire, N Namibia and W Zambia.