African Harlequin Quail are native quail to the grasslands of Southern Africa and Arabia. These quail can sometimes be confused with the Mearns Quail, which is sometimes referred to as a Harlequin Quail, of Southwestern North America. The African Harlequin Quail is an Old World Coturnix Quail.
African Harlequin Quail are quite striking in appearance and are very attractive birds. Males are more dramatically colored than females, but both sexes are richly colored in brown hues with lighter highlights and speckles. Males have handsome black and white stripes around the face and eyes and a bright chestnut-mahogany chest with black stripes.
Females are less dramatically colored but are beautiful birds, and they are also known to have great personalities and become quite friendly with their keepers.
African Harlequin Quail are very fast growers; they can be sexed by coloration at 4 weeks old, and reach full maturity at about 7 weeks old. They can start laying eggs by 8-9 weeks old and are capable of laying over 200 eggs per year.
African Harlequin Quail are about 6 inches long and weigh about 8-10 ounces when fully grown. Quail meat is considered gourmet and quail eggs are also in high demand by chefs, gourmets, and foodies. Like most Coturnix Quail, the African Harlequin would be an excellent choice for urban agriculture and small homesteads and farms as they are productive, quiet, easy to care for and small in size.
Like all varieties of Coturnix Quail, African Harlequin Quail require a high-protein game bird starter feed.
When keeping breeding pairs, be sure to provide each pair with their own aviary or enclosure as they do not tolerate other African Harlequin Quail around during breeding season. They do usually get along with other species of birds though. Also, pens and enclosures need to be tall enough to permit flying or need to have loosely netted tops. Quail tend to fly straight up when startled and can break their necks if they hit a low ceiling or cage. Providing brush or shrubbery within their enclosure is an even better idea so they can feel secure. Usually, quail will prefer to run and hide rather than fly if they are frightened, and providing cover will inspire them to run rather than shoot straight up.
Incubation Time: The wonderful speckled eggs of African Harlequin Quail take 17 days to incubate.
Temperature/Humidity: African Harlequin Quail Hatching Eggs will hatch best at 99.75 degrees F, decreasing to 99 degrees F during the final three days of incubation. Humidity should be kept at 50-55% until day 14 when it should be raised to 60-65% until the chicks hatch. Turning the eggs 3 times a day for the first 14 days is an important practice. After day 14, stop turning the eggs.