Do Quails Mate for Life? (Read This First!)

Since ancient times, quail birds have been bred as pets for their meat and eggs. Besides, quails are also used for commercial purposes, research, etc.

If you take a close look into the life cycle of quails, you’ll notice that they are the nature’s most loyal birds into the existence of earth. Let’s get to know more details about the mating life of quails.

Do quails mate for life?

Quail birds do mate for life. They spend their life mating with only one partner till death. Even though quails are not that much famous as chickens or pigeons, they are a very interesting species of bird for having such inimitable mating habits. Their mating rituals are also thought-provoking.

The origins of quails are known to be from ancient Egypt. Alongside wheat and fruits, the farmers in ancient Egypt used to raise quails as well. Soon they realized that quails were a great source of protein.

Therefore, large farms were being set up for breeding quails as a nutrition source for the pyramid technicians and other workers in Egypt. Over the course of time, different kinds of quails were discovered all over the world.

The brief description of different varieties of quail are as follows:

California quails:

California Quail are short-necked birds with a small head and bill, mostly chubby in nature. California quails are serially monogamous. It means that their pairing usually lasts only up to one breeding season.

King quails:

King quail is also known as the blue-breasted quail. King quails are monogamous, who remain strongly bonded with their partners for life.

Gambel’s quails:

Just like most other quails, Gambel’s quail are also bulky and soccer ball-sized bird. They have square shaped tail, short necks and tiny bill.

Gambel’s quail are monogamous in nature. On rare occasions, it is seen that the females leave the young ones and male look out for new partner.

Bobwhite quails:

Bobwhite are cute little quails with spherical bodies and tiny heads.

Bobwhite quail is polygamous in nature. Each partner of the bobwhite mates with more than one partner throughout their life.

Coturnix quails:

Coturnix quails are very shy in nature, for which they often choose bushy and shaggy areas to live on.

They are mostly monogamous, but some are polygynous. Research says, some female mates with multiple male throughout their life which also reveal the polyandrous nature in them.

Button quails:

Button quails make wonderful pets and all bird lovers would definitely agree to this. They have varieties of colors and patterns.

Button quails are monogamous in nature and remain with only one partner till death.

Are quails monogamous?

Quails are monogamous. After being tied up with one partner after they reach their mating age, they remain together and loyal to each other till death.

Usually, the animal kingdom doesn’t get to witness such monogamy in mating of animals. But, quails are one of those rare species who lives their life maintaining monogamous nature.

The species of Gambel’s quail and Coturnix quail have some remarkable qualities in maintaining monogamy, breeding and family care.

However, research says that common quails are one of the few species of quails who are polygamous and tend to mate with multiple partners.

What happens when a quail loses its mate?

All the animals mourn over the death of their partners, even humans. Quails are no exception.

They sorrow over their partners death even more as they stay committed to only one partner for lifetime. For a certain period of time, the quails grieve over the unexpected death of their partners.

But no matter whatever the situation is, the other partner takes over the charge and starts to take care of their family. In case the female dies during incubation period of the eggs, the male continues the incubation process until the sprouts are born.

After the death of their partner, both male and female focuses on raising their chicks. When the chicks become mature, they wait for the next mating season and gets involved with another partner.

There are series of ritual dances that is performed by the males to grab the complete attention of the females. The males usually use ‘kow kow’ or ‘whit whit’ sound to attract the females.

Do quails need to mate to lay eggs?

It is not mandatory for the female quails to mate in order to lay eggs. If any female quail lays eggs without mating with any male quail, the eggs are considered to be unfertilized.

The unfertilized eggs do not contain quail sprouts inside it. That’s why, these eggs are eligible for human consumption.

However, it is necessary for the females to mate with the male quail If you want the female quail to lay fertilized eggs.

Once the quails mate, the mated pair together gets fully focused on themselves into breeding, incubating the eggs and raising their young ones.

How often do quail mate?

Quails mate for 3 times a year. The average lifespan of quails are usually 1.5 years. But some might live up to 4 or 5 years.

The quails become sexually mature after 6 to 7 weeks after being born. Thus, they become sexually active mating with their partner from time to time.

Eventually after mating, quails start to build nests with their partners and engage themselves into reproducing its offspring.

If you raise quails, you will notice a few unusual things. For example, if you look into your quails after their mating, you will notice that some features are missing in the head of female quails.

No need to worry if you see some features missing off the female quails head. When the quails mate, the males holds down the head of the female with their beak.

Another thing that can be concerning while raising quails is, the male gives rigorous pecks to the female ones while mating.

The female quails can have an acute loss of features in the head area if the quails mate regularly. You can keep the male and female separately until the head of the female quail recovers from injury.

What season do Quails mate?

The quail usually mates during the spring season and continues throughout autumn. They start to pair up in the month of September.

The males attract the females with a set of rituals which involves different sounds, gestures and dancing. In the spring season, they start mating.

They lay eggs in the 3 consecutive months of the year i.e. April, May and June. After mating, they pair up for life and start building their nests.

Later, they start breeding and hatching eggs together. The nest can clutch 10 to 16 eggs altogether.

Some species are capable of clutching 28 eggs. The egg takes up to 21 to 23 days in average to hatch.

The female lays one egg daily. Annually, they can lay up to 300 eggs. 

The female quails are most fertile during the age of 2 to 8 months. From 9 months onwards, their fertility starts to subside.

 When they reach the age of 2, their ability to produce eggs declines completely.

How do quails mate in the wild?

Quails often look for bushy fields in order to mate with each other in the wild. Firstly, in order to attract a female quail, a male quail makes few sounds and performs some ritual dance.

The male lowers its head down in the ground and spreads its wings. Secondly, it puffs its chest out and runs towards the female.

If the female gets impressed by all the things that the male quail has done so far, she agrees to mate with the male.

Do quail mate with siblings?

Quails do mate with their siblings. The reason behind this is, they often can’t distinguish the difference between family members irrespective of color and species.

Even though the quails sometimes mate with their own siblings, they are born healthy. It is okay to let the incest nature take over onto them as long as there is no outward genetic defects in the young ones.

Apart from mating with siblings, mature quails can also mate with their mother and father. The daughters mate with their father and the sons go for their mother on rare occasions.

Can quails mate with chickens?

The quails cannot mate with chickens. For a matter of fact, they should be strictly kept separately.

Quail and chicken cannot be hybridized in the wild as they are not compatible with each other. If you raise both quail and chicken in your farm, make sure to keep them in separate coops.

However, the offspring of chicken and quail can be generated using artificial insemination in specialized labs.

Final Thought

Quails are very interesting species of birds with some distinctive characteristics. Even though some quails are polygamous in nature, most of the quails are monogamous. Their fascinating mating habits are often a center of curiosity to many as they mate with only one partner throughout their life.