Stubble Quail

The Stubble Quail is the only native quail species that can be legally hunted in Victoria.

Approximately 150,000 Stubble Quail are harvested each year, predominantly on private property in stubble paddocks and grasslands. 16 State Game Reserves are open to Stubble Quail hunting.

The 2024 Stubble Quail season arrangements will be available in due course.

(Photo provided by Field & Game Australia)

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Stubble Quail (Male)                                                            Stubble Quail (Female)

Plains-wanderer(Female)                                Plains-wanderer(Male)

Stubble Quail (Coturnix pectoralis)

All native quail species are protected in Victoria and, with the exception of Stubble Quail may not be hunted.

Stubble Quail have a dark brown colouration with pale buff markings. The centre of each feather has a cream stripe, giving the feathers a streaked appearance. The adult Stubble Quail is 18 to 18.5cm in length, with the female slightly larger than the male.

Non-game quail

When hunting, you may encounter several other quail species that could be mistaken for the Stubble Quail.  Those most commonly encountered include: Brown Quail; King Quail; Painted Button Quail; and Little Button Quail.  These birds are protected all year and may not be hunted.

Distinguishing between Stubble Quail and non-game quail

It is important that hunters can readily distinguish between Stubble Quail and protected quail species while hunting.  You should pay particular attention to: the size and flight characteristics of the bird; the habitat that you are hunting in; and the social organisation of the birds. Below is a general description that can be used by hunters as a guide to recognising the differences between the Stubble Quail and non-game quail species.  Remember, if you are not sure, DON'T SHOOT.

Stubble Quail

Non-game quail-like birds

Large, plump bird (compared to other native quail species).

Generally smaller than Stubble Quail (except Brown Quail which is slightly larger).

Bold, pale streaks on shoulder, back and breast.

Uniformly darker wings (King, Brown, Little Button).

Prefer open grasslands (improved and natural), cereal crops, stubble, lucerne and often found along weedy margins of irrigation channels. Avoid woodlands or areas with many trees.

Found across a range of habitat types including: woodlands; rank, dense grasslands; swampy coastal heaths; bracken; scrublands; grassy forests.

Mostly found singly or in pairs and, occasionally, small groups.

Often found in small groups or coveys (Brown Quail may be found in groups of up to thirty birds).

Never vocalise (call) when flushed.

Often chirp or chatter when flushed.

Loud whirring of wings when flushed. Fly with fast wing beats and may travel as far as 500 metres.

Quieter wing beats, not as rapid. Often fly only a short distance.

Never glide when flying. Curved flight before dropping tail-down into cover.

Glide in flight (Brown, King) may drop head-first into cover (Brown).

Page last updated: 18 Sep 2019

Hunters can only use shotguns that do not exceed twelve (12) gauge to hunt Stubble Quail.

Lead shot may be used. However, we encourage hunters to use non-toxic shot as it is less harmful to the environment.

Well trained gundogs are an effective way to hunt for Stubble Quail. Visit, Hunting game birds and deer with dogs for more information.