How to Compare Jumbo and Butler Bobwhite Quail

Written by angela baird
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How to Compare Jumbo and Butler Bobwhite Quail
Quail are prized for their eggs, a delicacy worldwide. (small quail's eggs image by Maria Brzostowska from

There are many types of quail but the two most popular are the Butler bobwhite and the jumbo quail, also known as the jumbo coturnix, jumbo brown or pharaoh quail. Butlers are indigenous to the United States and are the largest member of the bobwhite family of quail. They are popular with hunters but not for farming since they take six months to reach maturity. The jumbo, however, is prized as a meat bird, since it matures in just five weeks, as well as for its eggs. The jumbo coturnix is native to Japan but is farmed worldwide.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Bird identification field guide

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  1. 1

    Note the size of the two birds. The jumbo quail is smaller than the Butler, weighing in at only 142gr when fully grown. A full-grown Butler bobwhite quail weighs upwards of 567gr.

  2. 2

    Observe the colouring. Colouring in birds is the best way to identify a species. Males and females of the same species are usually coloured differently. The jumbo quail comes in many colours, depending on the breeder and the area. They can be white mixed with cinnamon, black, brown or grey. But the Butler bobwhite is very constant. Both sexes of Butler quail are buffy brown. The male is identified by a white throat and eye-line, with a black band over the eye. The female Butler's buff colour works well as camouflage when they nest on the forest floor.

  3. 3

    Listen to the calls of the two birds. According to, the jumbos make a caw sound, much like a crow. The bobwhite makes the call for which it was named, the ah-bob-white. The Butler bobwhite's call is melodious and pleasing, while the jumbo's call is somewhat cacophonous, especially during the breeding season.

Tips and warnings

  • When purchasing quail for farming purposes, ask about the individual breed's production record, especially for eggs.
  • Quail, like all birds, carry many diseases. Wash your hands well after handling to prevent yourself from becoming ill.

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