Upper parts cinereous brown, variegated with black: over each eye, and on the crown of the head, a longitudinal whitish streak.
P. Coturnix, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. II. p. 491. Coturnix dacty-lisonans, Temm. Pig. et Gall. torn. III. pp. 478, & 740. Common Quail, Selb. Illust. vol. I. p. 437. pl. 62. Quail, Mont. Orn. Diet, and Supp. Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. I. p. 351.
Entire length eight inches: length of the bill (from the forehead) five lines, (from the gape) seven lines and a half; of the tarsus one inch two lines; of the tail one inch six lines; from the carpus to the end of the wing four inches six lines: breadth, wings extended, fourteen inches four lines.
(Male). Crown and occiput black, the feathers edged with rufous brown; over each eye a yellowish white streak extending to a considerable distance down the neck; a similar streak along the top of the head running parallel with the above; throat rufous, hounded by a double crescent of dusky brown: upper part of the neck, back, scapulars, and wing-coverts, cinereous brown, variegated with black; the shafts and central portions of the feathers yellowish white: lower part of the neck, breast, and sides, pale rufous brown with longitudinal white streaks; belly yellowish white: tail blackish brown; the shafts and tips of the feathers whitish: bill and feet yellowish brown. (Female). Throat white, without the double crescent-shaped markings: breast yellowish white, spotted with blackish brown: general colours of the plumage paler. Obs. This species is subject to some variation of colours: in very old males, the cheeks and throat are dusky brown, and the whole plumage of a more vivid hue. Occasionally found pure white; or of a uniform deep brown. (Egg). Yellowish white, blotched and spotted with umber-brown: long. diam. one inch one line; trans, diam. eleven lines.
A migratory species visiting this country in May, and usually departing towards the end of the Autumn. Occasionally remains through the Winter. Chiefly frequents corn-fields and open lands. Feeds on seeds, grain, and insects. The males are polygamous, and utter during the breeding season a peculiar whistling note. Eggs eight or ten in number, deposited on the bare ground.