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Conservation status: Amber

A small gamebird - the combination of its stocky body and long, pointed wings makes it quite distinctive. Its upperparts are brown, streaked and barred with buff, while its underparts are a warm buffy orange. Rarely seen it is more usually heard giving its distinctive 'wet-my lips' call. It is the UK's only migrant gamebird, reaching the northern fringes of the its breeding range here. It is a Amber List species because of a partial recovery from its historical decline as a UK breeding species.



Latin name

Coturnix coturnix


Partridges, quails, pheasants and allies (Phasianidae)

Where to see them

Traditional strongholds appear to be parts of Wiltshire and Dorset, and in good years the Welsh Marches, East Anglia, low-lying parts of northern England and parts of southern Scotland can be occupied by calling birds. Very difficult to see - easier to hear, usually calling from grass or cereal fields.

When to see them

Arrives in late-April and May, staying until late summer.

What they eat

Seeds and insects


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-540 males--




Patrik Aberg, Xeno-canto