Stubble Quail & Introduced game birds

The Stubble Quail is the only native quail species that can be legally hunted in Victoria. They have 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 (pictured) slightly larger than the male.

The current Stubble Quail Season fact sheet can be found here.

(Photo provided by Field & Game)

Stubble Quail hunting maps
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The 2020 Stubble Quail Season opens on Saturday 4 April 2020 and closes on Tuesday 30 June 2020.  The bag limit is a maximum of 20 birds per day.

For more information please see the attached fact sheet below.

2020 Stubble Quail Season Fact Sheet

Stubble Quail (Male)

Stubble Quail (Female)

Stubble Quail (Coturnix pectoralis)

All native quail species are protected in Victoria and, with the exception of Stubble Quail may not be hunted.Open season: from first Saturday in April (5 April 2014) to the last day in June (30 June 2014).Bag limit: maximum 20 birds per day.Hunting Method: shotgun only, not exceeding 12 gauge.

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

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.  Well trained gundogs are an effective way to hunt for Stubble Quail. For more information on hunting game birds with gundogs please see our web page on this topic.