The banded quail, also known as the painted quail or Asian blue quail, is a small, ground-dwelling bird species found in parts of Asia, including India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan. The species gets its name from the distinctive band of black feathers that circles the neck of the male, which contrasts with the pale blue-grey plumage of the rest of the body. Females lack the black band and are a more subdued brownish-grey color.
Banded quails are social birds and often found in small groups, foraging for food on the ground. They feed mainly on seeds, shoots, and insects, with a particular fondness for termites. They are most active in the early morning and late afternoon, spending the hottest part of the day in the shade.
Males are territorial during the breeding season and will defend their chosen nesting site from other males. The female lays between 6-12 small, cream-colored eggs in a shallow depression in the ground, lined with leaves and grass. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs for around 17 days until they hatch. The chicks are precocial and able to leave the nest soon after hatching, relying on their parents for protection and warmth.
Banded quails are popular as pets, due to their small size and attractive appearance. However, they require specific, often complex, care to ensure their wellbeing, making them unsuitable for many potential owners. They can suffer from a range of health issues, including respiratory infections and mite infestations, making regular veterinary check-ups a necessity.
The banded quail is listed as a species of “Least Concern” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), thanks to its relatively large range and stable population. However, habitat loss, mainly due to agricultural expansion, remains a threat to its continued survival in some areas. The conservation status of the species is being monitored, and efforts are being made to ensure its continued survival in the wild.