JUNGLE BUSH QUAIL

A new species of very small quail from India
Imported Jan 2023 from Belgium breeders.





 Jungle Bush Quail
Female left, Male right


In January of 2023 I had the opportunity to acquire four pair of newly imported Jungle Bush Quail (Peridcula asiatica) This small species of quail is native to the Indian subcontinent, where it is found in India and Sri Lanka. It has also been reported from Nepal but has not been seen there since the 19th century. An introduced population is said to exist on the island of Reunion. They are common in European and British Aviaries but for some reason vanished from the US during the early to mid 1980s.

Apparently It was never common in the US, I say that because during the 70s and 80s I never encountered any being offered for sale. I was awared that Jungle Bush Quail were in some California collections but I never had the opportunity to acquire any which suggest they were either unproductive or already rare.


It seems that changed in early 2023 when a large number of JBQ were imported from Belgium. I was offered 4 young pair and decided to purchase them. They were shipped to me from Miami, FL and arrived in superb condition. The birds I received were young and not full color but that changed within a couple of months. Oddly the 8 birds turned out to be 3 males and 5 females. I discovered this when I picked the first egg in May and at the same time discovered one of the males dead, presumably killed by one of the other males. Once that happened, I separated the birds in to 2 groups, a trio and a quartet. I spoke to others but despite being told that their birds were not aggressive I still thought it best to separate the birds and not risk loosing another male. I now know It was a wise decision and I am very glad I did.

Jungle Bush Quail are easily sexed by plumage color when they are about 4 months old.  Males will begin to show black and white barred feathers on the breast, whereas females show a solid tawny red breast. The rest of the plumage as you can see in the above photos is typical camouflage brown, like that of most any wild quail species. So, the sexual differences are only visible from the front of the bird and not from above. They also have rounded beaks and not sharp pointed beaks like those of Button or Coturnix quail.

During the past few months I have learned that these birds can be very aggressive, and I no longer believe any stories that they are not aggressive.

I met a fellow who also purchased 3 imported pairs and 2 weeks later found 2 males killed leaving him with one male and 3 females. Another breeder here in the US whose breeding birds showed no aggression, told me when he mixed two groups of similar size young birds, a group 10 and a group of 7, the following day all 7 had been killed by the others. Eventually I did find someone in Europe who said that Jungle Bush should only be kept in pairs never trios. He went on to say that females during breeding season become dominate and may kill other females. Eventually I had to separate one female from a trio. After several months of being together one female finally had enough and no longer tolerated the presence of the other female.

My imported adult Jungle Bush remain nervous birds and generally prefer to remain hidden if offered places to hide. They do like to sit on rocks or elevated platforms during the day. Perhaps one of the most interesting features of this little quail its call or song. They sing like canaries. I am serious. Both males and females as well as growing young birds call or “sing” often. I would say within minutes of opening the shipping box and releasing the birds in to a small aviary they began singing and it was a delight to hear. It seems both sexes do this and even very young birds as well.

Jungle bush quail lay bright white eggs about the same size as button quail eggs. The eggs take 21 days to hatch. They were easy to hatch and the fertility was high. I found it helpful to incubate a few button quail eggs at the same time I set Jungle Bush eggs. The Button quail eggs hatch at 17 days and become very good teachers and companions for the
JBQ chicks, which hatch 4 days later. The JBQ chicks can be wild and if alone often will NOT eat on their own and die within a couple of days after hatching. But if button quail chicks are present, they apparently supply the needed support and the JBQ chicks thrive.  Plus, when kept with Button quail the JBQ chicks become very calm and trusting.

At first, I did experience losses of
JBQ chicks at about 2 weeks of age. After speaking with Ron Johnson, noted pheasant breeder in PA, I switched feed to the Tractor Supply Purina Medicated starter crumbles and also provided "Fast-Track" probiotics mixed with this feed. That stopped any further losses of chicks and they thrived. I also started feeding killed mealworms after their second week and the JBQ devour them. Once I discovered the proper feed my numbers grew and grew. Within a couple of months, I had over 20, then 30, and now over 50 young Jungle Bush Quail. One female has continued to lay eggs all through 2023 and even in Jan. of 2024.  I was able to hatch 6 out of 8 eggs in late January 2024.

It has been a learning experience. I will say despite being similar in size to Button Quail, JBQ are not as easy to raise as the Button quail. They present more problems and require more attention from their care giver than your average tiny quail. The adults can also be challenging to keep and may require constant monitoring and supervision if any aggression appears.

One of my European contacts said that young birds could be kept in large groups for an extended period of time and sometimes these groups do well at maturity if kept together. He also said to never try and mix any groups, and to never try and add new birds to a group.  He also recommended to always keep adults in breeding pairs and not in trios. I strongly suspect that all of these requirements might have contributed in part to why Jungle Bush Quail vanished from the US decades ago. Their maintenance might be a bit too much for the average hobbyist to deal with. Hopefully this time these little birds will find there place in US aviculture with dedicated game bird breeders.


I CERTAINLY PLAN TO PRODUCE A LOT OF THEM IN 2024 SO CONTACT ME IF YOU ARE INTERESTED     garrie@cox.net

I may even offer eggs.  I sold some in 2023 and ALL of the buyers had excellent results in hatching these eggs.  Egg prices will be $35 each and shipping will be by USPS Express mail ONLY. Express mail shipping cost varies from a low of $38 to $55 depending on your distance from Louisiana. 

Pairs will be available in 2024 send me an email if interested. I will by Express mail.



Below is a bowl of newly hatched Jungle Bush chicks (photo from my friend Francois of Belgium)