RFI - Searching for King Quail (Vic.)

Subject: RFI - Searching for King Quail (Vic.)
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 08:13:49 +1000

From: Martin  on 15/10/2001 08:13 AM

Subject:  RFI - Searching for King Quail (Vic.)

A short request for anyone who has skills and/or knowledge of King Quail (KQ)
Coturnix chinensis.

The King Quail is classified as 'Critically Endangered' in Victoria (NRE 2000)
and has been listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.  There has been no
recent records for the species in the Atlas of Victorian Wildlife but French
Island is generally regarded as the most likely spot for locating the species in
the state at the moment.

As a member of the 'Friends of French Island National Park' in Victoria's
Western Port Bay (a Ramsar site) our Saturday (13/10/01) outing was to search an
old KQ locality for the species and also check on the islands orchids, in
particular the French Island Spider-orchid Caladenia insularis.  We found a
number of the spider-orchids and many sun-orchids (Thelymitra species) but found
no evidence of King Quail.  This leads to my request.

The technique we used was to hold a piece of rope out between two people and
walk forward in a line, dragging the rope over the low heath vegetation.  The
time of day was between 11 a.m. and midday, sky was overcast and it was windy.
I am keen to have some advice on
- this method,
- the time of day (would morning or evening be better?)
- whether taped calls may elicit responses?
- any other thoughts or records people may have for Victoria.

Although windy and spending our time mainly with eyes to the ground we still
managed to record some raptors (Wedge-tailed Eagle, Swamp Harrier, Australian
Kestrel, Whistling Kite) and some good waders (Red-necked Stint 200+),
Red-capped Plover (30+) and a loose flock of Eastern Curlew (40+) south of
Chilcott Rocks on the west coast.  The usual banded Pied Oystercatchers were
also present and we enjoyed watching the aggressive interactions between pairs
that got to close to each other.  Much head-down and chasing going on as they
tried to maintain a piece of the mudflats.

Look forward to any advice people can offer on the King Quail.  How does one
search for them?

Martin O'Brien
Executive Scientific Officer & Secretary
Scientific Advisory Committee
Parks Flora and Fauna Division
Department of Natural Resources and Environment
4/250 Victoria Pde.,
East Melbourne  3002

Tel: 9412 4567
Fax: 9412 4586
(prefixes: Interstate 03 International 613)
Visit the Flora and Fauna Guarantee section of the
Department of Natural Resources and Environment at:

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