quail


quail
quail1
quaillike, adj.
/kwayl/, n., pl. quails, (esp. collectively) quail.
1. a small, migratory, gallinaceous game bird, Coturnix coturnix, of the Old World.
2. any of several other birds of the genus Coturnix and allied genera.
3. any of various New World gallinaceous game birds of the genus Colinus and allied genera, esp. the bobwhite.
4. Slang. a woman or girl.
[1300-50; ME quaille < OF < Gmc; cf. D kwakkel quail, MD, MLG quackele; akin to QUACK1]
quail2
/kwayl/, v.i.
to lose heart or courage in difficulty or danger; shrink with fear.
[1400-50; late ME < MD quelen, queilen]
Syn. recoil, flinch, blench, cower. See wince.

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Any of several species of short-tailed game birds (family Phasianidae), some with a head plume that is straight or curled forward.

Species range from 5 to 13 in. (13–33 cm) long. Some of the 95 Old World species have leg spurs, but the 36 New World species never do. Quails prefer open country and brushy borders. The male may help incubate the 12 eggs. Quails mainly eat seeds and berries but also leaves, roots, and insects. The common quail (Coturnix coturnix) of Eurasia and Africa is the only migratory bird in the order Galliformes. Quails are generally smaller than partridges. See also bobwhite.

California quail (Callipepla californica)

© William H. Mullins, The National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers

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bird
      any of 130 species of small, short-tailed game birds of the family Phasianidae (order Galliformes), resembling partridges but generally smaller and less robust. The 95 species of Old World quail are classified in either of two subfamilies, Phasianinae or Perdicinae. New World quail—some 36 species, constituting the subfamily Odontophorinae—more nearly resemble Old World partridges.

      Quail prefer open country and brushy borders. In spring the hen lays about 12 roundish eggs, which the male may help incubate. The young remain with their parents the first summer. Quail eat mainly seeds and berries but also take leaves, roots, and some insects. Their flesh is considered a delicacy, as are their eggs.

  New World quail have stronger bills than do the Old World forms, and none has leg spurs. The bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) of North America exists in about 20 races from southern Canada to Guatemala. Its name is suggestive of its call. Other than the bobwhite, North American quail include two important game birds introduced widely elsewhere: the California, or valley, quail (Callipepla californica; see photograph—>) and Gambel's, or desert, quail (Lophortyx gambelii). Both species have a head plume (larger in males) curling forward.

      Ranging farther east in North America is the scaled, or blue, quail (Callipepla squamata). Grayish, with scaly markings and a white-tipped crest, it is the fastest quail afoot. The mountain, or plumed, quail (Oreortyx pictus), gray and reddish with long straight plume, is perhaps the largest New World quail, weighing as much as 0.5 kg (about 1 pound). The singing, or long-clawed, quail (Dactylortyx thoracicus), of Central America, has a musical call. The tree quail, or long-tailed partridge (Dendrortyx macroura), of Mexico, is a 33-centimetre (13-inch) bird of almost grouselike proportions. Wood quail—large birds of the genus Odontophorus—are the only phasianids widely distributed in South America; they are forest dwellers.

 Old World quail are smallish plain birds, shorter and stockier than their New World counterparts. The bill edge is smooth, and the legs, in many, are spurred. Best known is Coturnix coturnix (see photograph—>), the common quail of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is the only migratory gallinaceous bird. Small quail sometimes classified as Excalfactoria, rather than Coturnix, include the blue quail (C. adamsoni), only 13 cm (5 inches) long, of eastern Africa. India has dwarf partridges, usually called bush quail, of the genus Perdicula.
 

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Quail — Quail, n. [OF. quaille, F. caille, LL. quaquila, qualia, qualea, of Dutch or German origin; cf. D. kwakkel, kwartel, OHG. wahtala, G. wachtel.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) Any gallinaceous bird belonging to {Coturnix} and several allied genera… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • QUAIL — (Heb. שְׂלָו), the bird Coturnix coturnix, the smallest of the pheasant family. The quail is approximately seven inches (about 18 cm.) long and weighs some 3½ ounces (100 gr.). The color of its plumage is like that of the house sparrow, a fact… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Quail — Quail, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Qualled}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Qualling}.] [AS. cwelan to die, perish; akin to cwalu violent death, D. kwaal pain, G. qual torment, OHG. quelan to suffer torment, Lith. gelti to hurt, gela pain. Cf. {Quell}.] 1. To die; to …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • quail — the bird [14] and quail ‘cower’ [15] are not related. The former comes via Old French quaille from medieval Latin coacula, which probably originated in imitation of the bird’s grating cry. It is not known for certain where the verb (which… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • Quail — Quail, TX U.S. Census Designated Place in Texas Population (2000): 33 Housing Units (2000): 16 Land area (2000): 3.168881 sq. miles (8.207363 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 3.168881 sq. miles (8 …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Quail, TX — U.S. Census Designated Place in Texas Population (2000): 33 Housing Units (2000): 16 Land area (2000): 3.168881 sq. miles (8.207363 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 3.168881 sq. miles (8.207363 sq …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • quail — quail·berry; quail; un·quail·ing·ly; …   English syllables

  • quail — the bird [14] and quail ‘cower’ [15] are not related. The former comes via Old French quaille from medieval Latin coacula, which probably originated in imitation of the bird’s grating cry. It is not known for certain where the verb (which… …   Word origins

  • Quail — Quail, v. t. [Cf. {Quell}.] To cause to fail in spirit or power; to quell; to crush; to subdue. [Obs.] Spenser. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Quail — Quail, v. i. [OF. coaillier, F. cailler, from L. coagulare. See {Coagulate}.] To curdle; to coagulate, as milk. [Obs.] Holland. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • quail — Ⅰ. quail [1] ► NOUN (pl. same or quails) ▪ a small short tailed game bird, typically with brown camouflaged plumage. ORIGIN Old French quaille, from Latin coacula. Ⅱ. quail [2] ► VERB …   English terms dictionary


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