Pheasants & Quails

pheasant quail
Animal Summary

Coturnix Quail - The small brown Coturnix Quail also known as Japanese Quail live in the zoo's aviary. These small birds have been raised for years for meat and eggs for centuries.

California Quail and Mountain Quail - The zoo's California quail lives with the mountain quail in an exhibit in the aviary. These two small birds look very similar with their gray rounded bodies. The California quail has a cluster of six overlapping feathers that droop forward. The mountain quail has a top knot on its head that lies backwards.

Silver Pheasant - The male silver pheasant's striking black and white plumage makes it standout in the zoo's aviary. He matches the females by having a bare red face and red legs. The two brown females like to hide behind their shelter or by sitting very still to blend into their surroundings.

Yellow Golden and Red Golden Pheasants - The male's strikingly bright plumage of the zoo's yellow golden and red golden pheasants catch eveyones eye as they walk past the aviary. Each of the males shares their separate exhibit with two brownish females that blend into their habitat to hide.


  • The Coturnix quail was initially developed for its song and were kept as pets and singing birds.
  • Japanese quail eggs have orbited the Earth in several Soviet and Russian spacecraft, including the Bion 5 satellite and Salyutle and Mir space stations.
  • Female Coturnix quail can start laying eggs at 35 days old and under correct conditions can lay approximately 200-300 eggs a year.
  • The California quail digests vegetation with the help of protozoans in its intestine. Chicks acquire the protozoans by pecking at the feces of the adults.
  • California quails gather in large coveys in the fall and winter and then break up into breeding pairs in the spring.
  • The 12-15 eggs that are laid and incubated by the female California quail hatch out after three weeks and the chicks are able to fly only ten days after that.
  • The mountain quail is the largest quail in the United States.
  • The mountain quail will migrate on foot from higher altitudes to protected foothills where it spends the winter in coveys of 6-12 birds.
  • The 8-15 eggs that are laid and incubated by the female mountain quail hatch out after four weeks and the chicks are able to fly 14 days after that. The young will stay with the family group for some time after fledging.
  • Pheasants are polygamous where 1 male lives with 2-3 hens.
  • Pheasants have short, heavy, and down curved beaks that are good for pecking and feeding off the ground.
  • Silver pheasants are ground dwelling birds that have heavy bodies with short legs. Their wings are short and rounded, good for short flights to escape predators.
  • Silver pheasants are well known in ancient Chinese art and poetry.
  • The golden pheasant likes dense vegetative cover to live in.
  • The golden pheasant likes to feed on leaves and shoots of plants in their habitat.


The Coturnix quail is not in danger of becoming endangered for it is the most commonly found quail in domestic conditions.

The California quail is a species of least concern for becoming endangered.

The mountain quail is a species of least concern and are considered plentiful in their range.

The Silver pheasants population numbers vary by races. Some species' numbers are stable while other species' are listed as vulnerable.

The yellow and red golden pheasant are both considered as least concerned in becoming endangered.


There are no threats to the Coturnix quail species.

Although the California quail co-exist well at the edges of urban areas the increase of human population and urbanization has eliminated some of their habitat.

Mountain quail are threatened by a loss of habitat due to brush clearing and livestock grazing.

The Silver, Yellow Golden, and Red Golden pheasants are threatened by hunting and destruction of their habitat.