Fun New Zealand Quail Facts For Kids

Aashita Dhingra
Oct 20, 2022 By Aashita Dhingra
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
One of the interesting New Zealand quail facts is that they are extinct.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.2 Min

The New Zealand quail is an extinct species of bird that was endemic to the country of New Zealand. It is a herbivorous bird that fed on seeds, grass, grains, and nuts.

The species was temperate and terrestrial and favored a grassland habitat, more specifically, the lowland tussock grassland. It was also found in open fernlands.

The New Zealand quail possibly lived in social groups and for around 2-3 years. It was probably a monogamous bird that laid 10-12 whitish-yellow eggs in a breeding season.

The New Zealand quail was a sexually dimorphic species with variations in the colors of the male and female birds. Its overall color was brown.

New Zealand quail populations started declining around the 1850s when game birds were introduced to their habitats which brought diseases. The New Zealand quail species was also hunted incessantly by humans which made it go extinct around the year 1875.

For more relatable content, check out these summer tanager facts and hermit thrush facts for kids.

New Zealand Quail Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a New Zealand quail?

The New Zealand quail (Coturnix novaezelandiae) was a bird.

What class of animal does a New Zealand quail belong to?

The New Zealand quail (Coturnix novaezelandiae) belonged to the 'Aves' class of animals.

How many New Zealand quails are there in the world?

There are no more New Zealand quails left in the world. They went extinct from their New Zealand habitat range around the year 1875. Game birds being introduced to their range and hunting by humans were the causes.

Where does a New Zealand quail live?

The New Zealand quail (Coturnix novaezelandiae) used to be endemic to New Zealand, both the North and South islands.

What is a New Zealand quail's habitat?

The New Zealand quail (Coturnix novaezelandiae) was a temperate and terrestrial species. It inhabited grasslands, specifically lowland tussock grasslands. It was also found in the fernlands of both the North Island and the South Island.

Who do New Zealand quails live with?

Since quails are social animals, it can be assumed that the birds of the New Zealand quail family lived mostly in groups.

How long does a New Zealand quail live?

It is unclear how long New Zealand quails lived for, but their generation length was 2.8 years, and quails, in general, live around 2-3 years.

How do they reproduce?

New Zealand quails were most probably a monogamous species. The nests were built in the ground in shallow scrapes and they had a grass lining.

A clutch of 10-12 eggs was laid by the female quails which were incubated for three weeks. The eggs were an overall buff or whitish-yellow in color.

The eggs also had smudged brown spots or dark brown blotches. Young juveniles were seen to have fledged by the month of April in New Zealand's South Island. New Zealand quails are believed to have played prominent parental roles.

A family of seven juveniles along with a male and female parent are known to have been hunted and killed during their population decline. New Zealand quail chicks were born precocial, meaning they were born in an advanced state and were able to feed themselves sooner than other birds.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the New Zealand quail species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature is 'Extinct'.

New Zealand Quail Fun Facts

What do New Zealand quails look like?

New Zealand quails were 6.9-8.7 in (17.5-22 cm) long and weighed around 7.1 -7.8 oz (200-220 g). New Zealand quails were an overall dark brown color.

On the upper parts of their wings and the back were vertical markings that were cream or buff. The primary wing feathers had golden buff edges. Sexual dimorphism was apparent in the male and female New Zealand quails.

Males had abdomens and breasts that were buff and had heavy markings which were brown to black. The breasts and abdomens of the females were buff-colored with dark brown edges. Males had an orange-rufous color that extended from the eyes to the throat.

Females also had this feature but in a light buff color. Females also had dark buff color around their eyes.

New Zealand quails had a brown-colored crown. They also had a white stripe that began at the beak, went over the eye and to the neck's backside.

The birds on the South Island showed some variations when compared to those on the North Island. The ones on the South Island were possibly lighter than the ones on the North Island. The juveniles resembled the adult females and had overall paler underparts.

New Zealand quails had buff and cream markings on the upper parts of their wings.

*Please note this is a general quail species as the New Zealand Quail is extinct If you have an image of the New Zealand Quail, let us know at

How cute are they?

New Zealand quails were cute little birds. Females and males looked different, but they were an overall brownish color. Their bodies were also adorned with shades of cream, buff, and rufous. They also had beautiful dark markings and a white stripe near the eyes. They were small, cute herbivores with sweet 'twit-twit' calls.

How do they communicate?

New Zealand quails or 'koreke' were known to communicate via calls. The male quails were known to utter repetitive 'twit-twit-twit-twee-twit' calls.

How big is a New Zealand quail?

New Zealand quails were 6.9-8.7 in (17.5-22 cm) long which makes them twice as big as rufous hummingbirds and 3-4 times smaller than tawny eagles. They were also slightly bigger than king quails.

How fast can a New Zealand quail fly?

The flight speeds of the New Zealand quail are unknown, but like most quails, it can be assumed that they flew at speeds of 30-40 mph (48-64 kph).

How much does a New Zealand quail weigh?

New Zealand quails or 'koreke' weighed around 7.1 -7.8 oz (200-220 g). Male quails were heavier than female quails.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Like most other birds, males and females of the New Zealand quail species were known as 'cocks' and 'hens'.

What would you call a baby New Zealand quail?

A baby New Zealand quail was called a chick.

What do they eat?

New Zealand quails were herbivores who ate seeds, grass, grains, and nuts.

They played an important role in their ecosystems considering their plant-based diets.

Are they dangerous?

No, New Zealand quails were not dangerous. It was humans that proved much too dangerous for them. They were hunted heavily and became extinct in 1875.

Would they make a good pet?

It is not possible to have a New Zealand quail as a pet since it is an extinct species.

Did you know...

The Australian stubble quail (Coturnix pectoralis) is a closely related species of the New Zealand quail, endemic to the Australian country. Unlike the New Zealand quail, the Australian stubble quail (Coturnix pectoralis) is not threatened.

Another closely related species is the Australian brown quail. The order, family, and genus of the Australian brown quail are Galliformes, Phasianidae, and Synoicus respectively.

The New Zealand quail bird was called 'koreke' in the Māori language.

Quails are fairly common in New Zealand, namely the California, bobwhite, and brown quails

The North and South Islands are two of the biggest islands in New Zealand.

Are quails native to New Zealand?

Yes, New Zealand quails were one of the endemic birds of New Zealand.

Why did the New Zealand quail go extinct?

There were a few factors that contributed to the extinction of the New Zealand quails. One was when the game birds were introduced to their habitat range which brought fatal diseases to them.

During the 1850s, they were heavily hunted by humans and they were extinct by the year 1875. It is also believed that the fires in their grassland habitat that destroyed their food and shelter as well as invasive species like rats, cats, and dogs did much harm to their populations.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these bee hummingbird facts and Frigate bird fun facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Elepio Bird coloring pages.

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Written by Aashita Dhingra

Bachelors in Business Administration

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Aashita DhingraBachelors in Business Administration

Based in Lucknow, India, Aashita is a skilled content creator with experience crafting study guides for high school-aged kids. Her education includes a degree in Business Administration from St. Mary's Convent Inter College, which she leverages to bring a unique perspective to her work. Aashita's passion for writing and education is evident in her ability to craft engaging content.

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