[Three Hundred Animals Contents]
IS a small bird, being in length no more than seven inches. The colour of the breast and belly is of a dirty pale yellow, the throat has a little mixture of red; the head is black and the body and wings have black stripes upon an hazel-coloured ground. Their habits and manner of living resemble those of the pheasant and partridge, and they are either caught in nets by decoy birds, or shot by the help of the setting dog, their call being easily imitated by tapping two pieces of copper one against another. The flesh of the Quail is very luscious, and next in taste to that of the partridge. Although it is certain that the Quails cannot remain long on the wing, yet it is believed that they are birds of passage, the only peculiarity in which these birds differ from all other of the poultry kind. The female lays seldom more than six or seven eggs.
The ancient Athenians kept this bird merely for the sport of fighting with each other, as game cocks do, and never eat the flesh: it was that wild fowl which God thought proper to send to the chosen people, as a sustenance in the desert.