Himalayan Quail

Himalayan Quail

The Himalayan Quail or Mountain Quail is a medium-sized quail belonging to the Pheasant family. This species was known from only 2 locations in the western Himalayas – Uttarakhand and north west India.

The red bill and legs of this small dark quail and white spots before and after the eye make it distinctive. The male is dark grey with bleak streaks and a white forehead and supercilium. The female is brownish with dark streaks and greyish brow. Like the male it has a white spot in front of the eye and a larger one behind the eye. It is believed to fly only when flushed at close quarters and was found in coveys of five or six. The habitat was steep hillsides covered by long grass. The genus name is derived from Ophrys which refers the brow.

This quail has long tail coverts and the 10 feathered tail is longer, nearly as long as the wing, than in most quails. The feathers of the forehead and bristly and stiff. All records of the Himalayan quail are in the altitude range of 1,650 to 2,400 m. They were seen in patches of tall grass and brushwood on steep hillsides, particularly on the crests of south- or east-facing slopes. Himalayan quail feed on the seeds of grasses and probably berries and insects. They breed at higher altitude in winter season. Nothing is known about their reproduction.


  1. Blanford, WT (1898). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma Birds. Taylor and Francis, London. pp. 681–70.
  2. Rasmussen PC; JC Anderton (2005). Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Volume 2. Smithsonian Institution and Lynx Edicions. p. 129.
  3.  Le Messurier, A (1904). Game, shore and water birds of India (4th ed.). W. Thacker and Co, London. p. 91.
  4. Ali, S; S D Ripley (1980). Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan. 2 (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 73–74.
  5. Ripley, S. D. (1952). “Vanishing and extinct bird species of India”. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 50: 902–904.

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