The Quails are well-known small game birds, widely distributed over Europe, Africa and Asia, and mostly migratory. Even the species which have a com¬paratively limited range are restless and move to and fro according to season.
The Quails have a pretty plumage, and most of them are beautifully streaked on the sides of the body as well as on the upper surface. The tail is very short, pointed and composed of 8 to 12 very soft feathers, quite indistinguishable from the feathers which cover them above and below. The wing is pointed, and the first quill reaches almost, if not quite, to the tip of the wing. The sexes differ in plumage, and slightly in size. There is no spur on the leg of either sex.
Three of the Indian Quails may be termed common in some part or other of the Empire. A fourth visits our Eastern frontier in the winter, and will no doubt, now that attention is drawn to it, be found generally distributed over the vast territory known as the Shan States.
The Quails can only be confounded with the Bush-Quails, and this is hardly possible if it is borne in mind that three out of the four Indian Quails have the sides of the body streaked, and that the fourth species, although not streaked, has the outer web of the quills of the wing perfectly unmarked. In the Bush-Quails, on the other hand, the sides of the body are never streaked and the outer web of the first ten quills of the wing is invariably barred.