Excalfactoria Chinensis or Coturnix Chinensis
Button Quail are also referred to as Chinese Painted Quail, King Quail, or the Blue Breasted Quail. They are the smallest of quail species, and one of the most colorful. Button Quail are round and plump in appearance. Males are particularly colorful with bluish coloring over their upper halves and reddish rust coloring underneath. Dramatic black and white markings on the throat and face finish the flashy look. Females are very pretty although not flashy with mottled brown camouflage coloring. Both males and females have black beaks, yellow to orange-colored legs and feet,
In general, Button Quail are raised for sheer pleasure. They do lay about one egg every other day, and they do grow fast, but the tiny size of both the eggs and bird don't make them very useful as production birds. They are quiet birds, eat very little, and are very pleasant to have in the home. The noises they make are truly endearing.
Button Quail are usually only 4.5 to 5.5 inches in total length.
Range: The wild range of the Button Quail is throughout Asia - from India to South China, through the islands of Indonesia, and even in Northern Australia.
Habitat: Not much is known of wild Button Quail as they have very thoroughly integrated into captivity, but these are birds of shrub and brush. They are found in marshy wetlands and rice paddies as well in grassy highlands. Nesting is usually done in places with grass and low shrubs.
Status in the Wild: Excalfactoria Chinensis are listed as being of Least Concern in Conservation Status. However, there are concerns with particular native strains of Button Quail populations in localized areas, mostly due to disappearing habitats.
Status in Aviculture: Button Quail are one of the most popular quails in aviculture. They are also quite commonly kept as pets. Their small size and bright coloration make them very attractive to pet bird owners, who often incorporate button quail into cages with other birds like finches or parakeets. The Button Quail roam the floor of the cage and clean up spilled food from the perching birds above.
Breeding and Incubation: Button Quail can raise their own young, but should be closely monitored. Males can be very aggressive with one another. Males can also be aggressive toward the chicks when they first hatch.
If you want to allow your Button Quail to breed and raise their own chicks, you will need to provide them with a planted aviary with plenty of options for cover and grassy spots for nesting. Breeding can be year-round.
Females usually lay between 6 and 16 eggs per clutch. Incubation takes between 16 and 19 days. The eggs are quite large considering the size of the bird. Females can have a challenging time keeping the eggs warm if there are over 10 in a clutch. Button Quail Hens are good mothers.
Button Quail chicks are known to share some communication with one another while in the eggs. They usually all hatch within minutes of one another. Be sure that whatever enclosure you have for your quail is ready, warm, and safe for the tiny chicks when they hatch. They are the size of bumblebees and can slip through half-inch hardware cloth. They are also very active from the very start and can start flying within days of hatching. Waterers should have marbles or stones in them to prevent chicks from falling in and getting chilled.
Lifespan: Button Quail have been known to live for 13 years in captivity with good husbandry, but the average lifespan is only 3-6 years. In the wild, Button Quail usually have a very short life of only about 1 and a half years.
Mature Weight: Button Quail are tiny birds. They weigh between 1 ounce to 2 ounces. Males tend to be a bit smaller than females.
Housing Requirements: These tiny quail can adapt very quickly and thrive in many different styles of housing. One thing to be aware of though is that they do tend to fly straight up if startled. This can result in the bird smashing against the ceiling of the enclosure at high speeds resulting in injury or death. Keeping Button Quail in an enclosure with a soft ceiling or very high or very low (so they don't build up speed) would be a solid idea. Button Quail do not perch - they are ground birds. The flooring needs to be clean and dry. In general, quail are uncomfortable on wire floors.
Diet: A game bird mash with around 20% protein will be an adequate diet for Button Quail. Frequently providing fresh greens and whole seeds will benefit their health and well-being and will also make their egg yolks darker yellow. Mealworms are a nice addition as well.
Miscellaneous: More and more fun and exciting color mutations - silvers, cinnamons, pieds, tuxedos, and more - are appearing in Button Quail, making these birds truly captivating for aviculturists as well as hobby quail keepers.