Bobwhite quail

Natural range is eastern North America, Mexico, Central America and Cuba. The many introductions of this game bird were largely unsuccesful but a population seems to persist in the northern Hawkes Bay. Their behaviour is typical of quail.

According to Fish and Game New Zealand, “the least common of New Zealand upland gamebirds, the bobwhite was released from Auckland to Southland in 1898 and 1899. Today their range is much reduced but small numbers of birds persist in South Auckland and Northern Hawkes Bay. The populations of bobwhites are augmented with releases of hand reared birds by enthusiastic aviculturalists.”

Note: An email from Jim Waters informs me that quail, that appear to be Bobwhite, are commonly visible on Mount Maunganui Reserve at the entrance to Tauranga Harbour. Since this is an extremely popular walking and running track, it would be a suitable place where members of the public might be able to see them. He says he also has seem one near Waitomo.

The Bobwhite quail was designated as the official state game bird by Public Chapter 775 of the Acts of the 95th Tennessee General Assembly.

—  Greytown, Wairarapa, 2006.

Bobwhite quail
Sub Species:

Other common names:  — 

Virginia partridge.

Description:  — 

Introduced bird

23 cm., 180 g., Male has white face, black cap and line through eye to join black throat, female has yellowish face with brown markings, dark grey bill.

Where to find:  — 

May persist in South Auckland and Hawkes Bay.

Youtube video  — 

»»»  Bobwhite quail

Illustration description: — 


Audubon, John James, Birds of America, 1840.

Nature Study Publishing, 1898.

Reference(s): — 


Oliver, W.R.B. New Zealand Birds, 1955.

Heather, B., & Robertson, H., Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand, 2000.

Page date & version: — 


Monday, 2 June 2014; ver2009v1


©  2006    Narena Olliver,    new zealand birds limited,     Greytown, New Zealand.