25 July 2011


Earlier in the month we had reports from a few ringers saying that they had many male Quails ‘calling’ in their ringing sites, which coincides with the peak of birds shown by Birdtrack. These are thought to be young (3) males from more southern breeding grounds which are migrating north during their first calendar-year before their journey to their wintering grounds in the Sahel.

Quails are particularly difficult to monitor due to their fluctuating populations, skulking behaviour, long, complex migration, and mating system.

With only 3 Quails ringed during 2010 (out of a total of more than one million birds!) any recovery of a Quail qualifies for excitement, and that is exactly what happened when I found a report from Norway of a Quail found dead with a British ring.

This individual was found on the 24th May, and had been ringed just four days earlier in Sussex. Last May, Birdtrack records showed another peak in Quail numbers, probably involving birds on their way to breeding grounds.

The map below shows the only other 4 recoveries of Quails that have occurred in the last 100 years.

View Quails in a larger map

Blue: Adult female, ringed in 03 May 1965 in Cranleigh, Surrey, and shot in Zaragoza, Spain in September of the same year.

Green: Adult female, ringed in Fair Isle 23 May 1993 and reportedly killed by a Skua only a few days later in the same place.

Red: ringed as an adult female in Tielt, Belgium, the 10 May 2009 and killed by a Peregrine on 1st of July 2009 in Grantham.

Yellow: Adult male ringed in Elton, Derbyshire, and shot near Soria, Spain, on 18 Aug 2009.

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