Investigating the age and sex of harvested Stubble Quail

Throughout the 2022 Stubble Quail season, the GMA piloted a new research project investigating the age and sex (demographics) of Stubble Quail harvested by licensed hunters in Victoria.

As part of the program, eligible hunters mail harvested quail wings to the GMA, allowing the GMA to identify the age and sex of harvested quail. This data will contribute to a better understanding of the demographics and reproductive rates of Stubble Quail in Victoria.

Together, with the data gathered from the Stubble Quail monitoring program, this information will allow us to model the Stubble Quail population to predict trends and assist in the development of sustainable management practices.

Similar demographic research projects on game species are successfully conducted throughout the world, including in the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Denmark.

The wings returned from harvested Stubble Quail are assessed at the end of the quail season. Data on the sex, age and stage of moult of harvested stubble quail will be made available upon completion of the project.

Get involved

If you have wing samples from the 2022 season, please mail them to us before 7 July 2022.

To get involved in our 2023 wing collection program, email your name and address to research@gma.vic.gov.au

Education materials

Sex ID fact sheet

Wing removal fact sheet

Wing removal instructional video

FAQs

Why are we researching age, sex and moult of harvested Stubble Quail in Victoria?

This research is part of a broader monitoring program for Stubble Quail in Victoria. Despite Stubble Quail being the most common quail species in Australia, very little is known about their ecology, biology, current population levels and reproductive rates.This research aims to strengthen our understanding of Stubble Quail:

  • abundance
  • geographic spread across Victoria
  • productivity and reproductive rates.

This research is important for ensuring the sustainable management of Stubble Quail in Victoria and complements harvest and abundance monitoring programs.

Why should I participant in this research?

Hunters have an important role to play as citizen scientists. Information provided by hunters on their hunting activity and effort will inform programs that support sustainable hunting.We are inviting hunters to collect wings and simply send them to the GMA for assessment, in a reply-paid envelope.These wing samples will provide important data on the age and sex of harvested Stubble Quail and improve our understanding of the harvest and reproductive rates of Stubble Quail in Victoria.

When does the wing collection program take place?

The wing collection program runs annually throughout Stubble Quail seasons. Envelope packs available upon request throughout the season by emailing research@gma.vic.gov.au. For the 2022 program, wings should be mailed to the GMA by 7 July 2022.

How can I get involved?

All licensed hunters only endorsed to hunt Stubble Quail, who have registered their email address on their MyGL account, will be invited to participate by email. Any licensed Stubble Quail hunter can participate in the research by emailing a request for wing collection envelopes to research@gma.vic.gov.au.

How do I tell the difference between male and female stubble quail?

The sex of adult stubble quail is easily determined visually. Male Stubble Quail have orange-buff throat and face markings, and a large black patch on the breast; females have cream-white throat and face markings and lack a solid black breast-patch.

Immature Stubble Quail are similar in colouration to adults, however, the male black breast patch may include white streaking throughout the feathers, and the orange throat and face marking will be less colourful. Juvenile Stubble Quail are smaller in size than adults or immature birds.

For both sexes, breast feathers are white with brown spots, and belly feathers extensively white. Due to the similar colouration between sexes in juvenile birds, it is difficult to correctly identify sex.Please see the Stubble Quail Sex Identification Fact Sheet  for more information on how to identify the sex and age of harvested quail.

How do I remove the wings from quail for assessment?

After identifying the sex of the quail, the wing (left or right) should be removed from the shoulder where it joins the body. Any excess meat / tissue should also be removed.A pair of scissors or shears is all that is required.

It is important that wing removal does not damage the wing feathers. The removed wings should be immediately placed into the correct male or female envelope and posted to the GMA in the reply-paid envelope.Please see the Wing Removal Fact Sheet for more information on how to identify the sex and age of harvested quail.

How do I store the wings prior to posting to GMA?

It is important that wings are posted to GMA as early as possible following harvest.

Wings may also be stored in an unsealed envelope if the hunter anticipates hunting another day and harvesting additional quail.

Envelopes containing wings can be left open to ‘air dry’ until they are posted. If wings are not frozen, it is important that the envelopes remain unsealed until the day of postage to minimise the chance of spoilage.

Who will analyse the data?

The GMA will commission expert biometricians to analyse the data. Results of the wing survey will be made available on the GMA website each year.

How will the data be used?

This study will help improve our knowledge of this species by providing important data on productivity and overall harvest, which will also inform abundance and distribution estimates.

Over time, data from this research will be combined with information collected on abundance and distribution (being determined in a separate study) and harvest, to allow us to monitor population trends over time, which will inform the sustainable management of Stubble Quail in Victoria.

Will data generated by the 2022 wing survey be used to inform season settings and bag limits for the 2023 stubble quail season?

No. This research aims to investigate the age and sex of harvested stubble quail. This type of information is also currently collected on native game duck species and Hog Deer in Victoria.

Page last updated: 29 Jun 2022