Quail (Brown) Synoicus ypsilophora
Binomial name: Synoicus ypsilophora
Synonyms: Synoicus ypsilophorus
Common name: Brown quail, Swamp Quail
Not in Taranaki
The brown were introduced to New Zealand as game birds in the 1860s and 1870s but the South Island liberations failed and now they are common only north of Auckland and in parts of the Bay of Plenty. They now however only survive in the North Island.
They have a small round dumpy body. Size 18cm and weighs about 100g. The plumage being an overall brownish colour finely patterned with black mottled black and chestnut wavy bars on a brownish grey background. The eye and bill is dark with yellowish legs. Both sexes are alike.
The brown quail is mainly herbivorous favouring the seeds of fallen grasses, weeds and shrubs. They will supplement this diet with vegetation, flowers and insects.
Breeding is between September and January, laying 7 - 12 eggs in a ground level nest beneath thick vegetation. The nest itself is a slight depression lining with grasses. The female alone incubates for around 21 days, the young chicks leaving the nest when extremely small and vulnerable. Rougher country is preferred with places to hide although, if pressed, will fly upwards with a whir of wings before landing in cover and quickly disappearing.
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