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Both quail and the larger partridge are popular targets of hunters. The best-known quail in the United States is called bobwhite in the North and partridge in the South. California and mountain quail are found in humid regions along the Pacific coast. In the arid Southwest are Gambel's, scaled, and valley quail. Two kinds of Old World partridge that were introduced in the Northwest and Middle West are the blue-gray European, or Hungarian, partridge of Central Europe and the chukar partridge of India.

The plumage of the bobwhite is a mixture of mottled brown, buff gray, and white. The combination makes the bird almost invisible when it lies quietly in fields or woods. If anyone comes too close, it takes flight with an explosive whirring of wings.

Quail nest in open, brushy fields that offer good cover. The nest holds from 12 to 18 white eggs. The chicks leave the nest immediately after hatching, but the family keeps together as a covey until the next spring. At night the birds sleep on the ground in a closely packed ring with heads facing outward to be ready for flight at any alarm.

Quail and partridge belong to the family Phasianinae. True partridge of Europe and Asia are classified in the subfamily Phasianinae or in the subfamily Perdicinae. The American quail belongs to the subfamily Odontophorinae. The scientific name of the bobwhite is Colinus virginianus; of the scaled quail, Callipepla squamata; of the California and valley quail, Lophortyx californicus; of the Gambel's quail, Lophortyx gambelii; of the mountain quail, Oreortyx pictus; of the Hungarian, or European, partridge, Perdix perdix; and of the chukar partridge, Alectoris chukar.

From: Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia 1998

The name quail designates birds belonging to two divisions of the pheasant family, Phasianidae: the New World quail, subfamily Odontophorinae; and the Old World quail, subfamily Phasianinae, which also includes partridges.

Most New World quail are brightly marked and crested, and the two sexes are distinct in color. They lack spurs on their tarsi and have stronger bills than Old World quail. About 30 species are distributed from southern Canada to northern Argentina, ranging from deserts (for example, the scaled quail, Callipepla squamata) to cloud forests (the bearded tree quail, Dendrortyx barbatus). None is migratory, and most are considered game birds.

The bobwhite, Colinus virginianus, a North American game bird, measures up to 28 cm (11 in) in length; the male has a white throat and bands across each side of the head. It is considered beneficial to farmers because its diet includes a wide variety of agricultural pests.

The Old World common quail, Coturnix coturnix, domesticated in Japan and other countries, often migrates in dense flocks. The sparrow-sized Chinese painted quail, Excalfactoria chinensis, is the smallest known gallinaceous bird--that is, a bird related to the domestic fowl.

Gary D. Schnell

The redleg, chukar, and hun (Hungarian) partridges range in size between a large quail ans a small ruffed grouse. The hun will weigh about 12 to 13 ounces and will usually serve 1 person. It's a good game species, and excellent eating when young and tender. As with grouse, in young birds the tips of the two outermost, leading, wing feathers are more pointed than the rest.

Bobwhite is probably the best known of the quail family, but others such as Gambel's and the desert quail have their devotees across the country. These are small birds, 5 to 6 ounces, with tender, flavorful dark meat. Since they are similar to dove in having a short life span, you'll rarely come across a tough one. If the age is important to you, use the wing feather test as with grouse. Being small, quail are usually served 2 to each diner for a main course, or 1 apiece for an appetizer.

Jacqueline E. Knight


"Andalusian" Partridge

Recipe By:	John Ash	

Amount	Measure	Ingredient	Preparation Method
1	large	Red Onion	
2	whole	Partridges	
2		Bay Leaves	
1/4	cup	Good Sherry Vinegar	
		Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper	
3/4	cup	Fine Sherry	
1	cup	Rich Partridge Or Chicken Stock	
3	large	Clov  Garlic	
3		Bay  Leaves	
1/3	cup	Olive Oil	
6	whole	Cloves	
1/4	cup	Golden Raisins	
12	whole	Peppercorns	

Slice onion thinly and loosely fill cavity of the birds along with a bay
leaf. Rub the vinegar over the birds.  Season generously with salt and
pepper.  Place the birds, remaining vinegar, any remaining onions and rest
of ingredients in an earthenware dish, cover and place in a preheated 325F
degree oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until birds are very tender.  Allow
birds to cool in the cooking liquid.  Remove, cut into serving pieces and
serve with olives, figs and a rich salty cheese such as feta.


Smoked Quail And Goat Cheese-Filled Poblano Chile

Recipe By:	James Beard	

Amount	Measure	Ingredient	Preparation Method
8	large	Fire-Roasted Poblano Chiles	
8		Smoked Quail Breasts	Diced In 1/4" Pieces
2	tablespoons	Olive Oil	
4		Shallots	minced
1	small	Clove	
1/2	ounce	Tequila	
	pinch	Minced Cilantro	
1	pound	Goat Cheese	
2	cloves	Garlic	minced

  To prepare stuffing:
  Peel poblano chiles, split down one side and remove seeds. Saute diced
  quail in olive oil, shallots and garlic until shallots are soft,
  taking care not to burn the garlic. Deglaze pan with tequila and set
  aside to cool. When mixture is cool, mix in cilantro and goat cheese.
  Carefully stuff the peppers. You may sew the chiles up with strips of
  blanched leeks and a needle.
  To bake chiles:
  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place stuffed chiles, cut side down, in a
  baking pan and cover. Roast for about 40 minutes. Uncover and roast
  another 5 minutes. Serve on a pool of Tomato-Cilantro salsa.
  To roast chiles:
  Using long tongs, place peppers over a gas flame and turn until the
  skin is evenly charred. You may also place the peppers on a cookie
  sheet and roast them under the broiler, taking care not to burn them.
  Transfer the charred peppers to a plastic bag, seal and let them
  steam. When peppers have cooled, using rubber gloves, carefully peel
  skin and make an incision down one side of the chiles and remove
  seeds, making sure not to tear the chiles.

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