The males of the African blue quail (Coturnix adansonii) are quite easy to distinguish from wild-coloured males of the Chinese painted quail species (Coturnix chinensis). By cons it is much more complicated for hens! How can we distinguish pure-bred African blue quail from Chinese painted quail?
African blue quail males:
have absolutely no red feathers on the chest and on the belly: they are completely blue from the bib until the underbelly.
the back is completely blue, without traces of brown colouration. They are well visible black spots/markings but never clear longitudinal striations.
the bib is the same as Chinese painted quail but goes more down below.
the shoulders and the wings are red.
African blue quail females:
are darker, mostly on the head and on the back.
The males of the African blue quail (Coturnix adansonii) could easily be confused with the males of the recessive ‘US Red-breasted’ mutation of the Chinese painted quail (Coturnix chinensis). Fortunately, this is not the case for females, they are totally different! How can we distinguish pure-bred African blue quail from the US Red-breasted mutation of the Chinese painted quail?
Significative differences on males:
“US Red-breasted” mutants are full of red feathers on the breast and on the belly what African blue quail don’t have.
“US Red-breasted” mutants have a black head and African blue quail have a blue head.
“US Red-breasted” mutants have no white bib, only a little and fine white collar below thethroat.
Significative differences on females:
“US Red-breasted” females are impossible to confuse with African blue quail, they are completely different, see the picture below!
In the same vein of one my previous posts about the rain quail (Coturnix coromandelica) that had become very rare here a few years ago (HERE), last year, I was astonished to realize that practically no breeders in Belgium and in the Netherlands still had Crested bobwhites (Colinus cristatus). In parallel to that, there were people again who were looking like crazy to buy a maximum of these birds, at any price … I saw a lot of advertisements on the well known dutch website of birds-ads and on Facebook-groups also.
A very good friend of mine, who raised practically all kind of quails and partridges for over forty years in the small town of Hannut and who is recognized as an international judge of ornithology, specialized in ground birds and doves/pigeons, has bred them for several years. But he got few chicks because the fertility rate of its breeding pairs, especially in the last years he kept them, was very low. I still remember very clearly those pink-spotted eggs when I went to visit him from time to time and those birds that were very beautiful but as I remember, a little bit nervous too. I also remember that we sold some birds to Flemish breeders and also shipped some eggs to U.S.A but at this time this species of quails did not really make people dream, well they did not unleash the passions if I can say it like that. Then, his age and the disease caused that the friend had to strongly reduce his breeding and the number of species in his aviaries. I should have bought some birds by my friend before because when I was decided, it was too late, they were already all away ! In 2017 I tried to contact the persons we had sold birds but none of them had any more. By chance I saw a few ones by someone in 2018 in the Netherlands but I honestly must say that were really dwarf birds, the smallest I have ever seen in my life.
Do you want that I tell it to you? Personally, I have the impression that the “smart guys” I’m talking about from time to time have smelled a lucrative juicy plan and that, as if by magic, in the near future, we’ll see quantities again of birds of this species for sale on the bird-ads websites …
Well, what happened ? I remember that in Belgium and in the Netherlands a few years ago, true rain quails (Coturnix coromandelica) had become very rare, almost nobody had any more of them…
Yes, there were still a few bandits in the north of the country who, crossing males of rain quail with females of harlequin quail, cheated the most credulous and the beginners but for those who knew them well … true pure birds could only be found close to a few still alive “old breeders”. They had often aged birds, very consanguineous and laying no more so much, or with a fecundity as low as the survival rate of chicks able to extricate themselves from their eggs. Finally, a specie in perdition … The fault given at the end of the imports but, according to me, more to the breeders themselves who had let degenerate their breeding lines and all those who, for lack of interest, did not know how to distinguish them from the harlequin quail (especially the females) and who hybridized them together for years …
I remember that many breeders were literally crying for a few ones. Dutch and German breeders offered large sums of money. Americans also desperately asked for, and here we were no longer able to raise birds because the females were practically no longer laying eggs and the weak chicks died all. I’ve seen ads from buyers who wanted to buy everything that could be, and many breeders in Belgium finally have sold … I also remember having identified on a Google Map all the known breeders in Belgium and by our neighbors and then asked everyone where their animals came from. I quickly realized that it was everywhere … the same blood !
In vain I tried to make contact with breeders in Turkey because I knew that the species exist in the wild in some parts of this country. The language barrier was really a big hurdle for me. In Italy too, it was not easy to find breeders but I had more ease with the language and I finally ended up in contact with a breeder telling me the same difficulties and after a few e-mails I learned that his birds came from a known breeder in the Netherlands. Misery, still the same blood ! Except a known good breeder in England, who had bought wild eggs brought in UK by a Pakistani man, and having beautiful birds breeding normally, here we were really … in the shit.
And then, as if by magic, like many other breeders, I saw incredible amounts of rain quail released for sale in 2018 on the major specialized bird-ads websites. In Belgium and the Netherlands, a large number of pairs of these animals could easily be purchased. Some breeders claimed to have raised dozens and then put them on sale. It seemed really incredible. This continued until 2019.
At this moment, birds of this species are available everywhere and all year round but have you seen them? Many of them are vulgar hybrids identifiable at three meters distance. Among the males, we find subjects not too bad but more orange than really beige on the flanks. Among the females, almost all are very dark on the chest and alsoon the throat. In my opinion much too dark.
I looked carefully in the books, on the internet, the wild birds photographed in the nature by naturalists and nature photograph’s. Just look for yourself how should be a female of rain quail, and then look at all these birds, examine them simply and make your own opinion … I also saw pictures and videos of young rain quails born by my English friend’s and who are 100% pure from Pakistan, I really would like to have a few of those birds in my aviaries, the others … no.