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Button Quail

Button Quail

coturnix chinensis

Also known as Chinese Painted Quail, Button Quail are the smallest of the quails. Like all quail, they are ground dwellers, with feet unable to perch on sticks or branches.

Button Quail

Button Quail Facts

Average Adult Size up to 4 inches long, head to end of tail
Average Life Span 4+ years with proper care
Diet omnivores

Bird owners should avoid non-stick cookware and appliances as they can release fumes hazardous to your bird's health.


A well-balanced Button Quail diet consists of:

  • High-quality, fresh, game bird diet or equivalent should make up 60-70% of diet, fresh vegetables and fruits; grit should also be offered in a shallow bowl large enough for the bird to sit in.
  • Clean, fresh, filtered, chlorine-free water, changed daily.
  • Do not feed birds avocado, fruit seeds, chocolate, caffeine or alcohol as these can cause serious medical conditions. Avoid sugar and high fat treats.


Things to remember when feeding your Button Quail:

  • Fresh food and water should always be available.
  • Vegetables and fruits not eaten within a few hours should be discarded.
  • Ensure water and food containers are placed one to two inches above the habitat floor to prevent contamination by bedding or feces.
  • Remember, treats should not exceed 10% of total food intake.


  • Button Quails acclimate well to average household temperatures, not to exceed 80°F; be cautious of extreme temperature changes. The habitat should be placed off the floor in an area that is well-lit and away from drafts.
  • The habitat should be rectangular and at least 8 cubic feet, with solid flooring. It is best to provide the largest habitat possible. A flight habitat is strongly recommended.
  • Provide several hiding places.
  • Habitat top should be fabric or soft material to prevent injury when the Button Quail jumps.
  • Female Button Quails may be kept together with a single male; do not house males together. Different types of birds should not be housed together.
  • Button Quails should be socialized daily by the pet parent or kept in pairs to bond with each other.

Normal Behavior

  • A male Button Quail kept without females may crow constantly.
  • Male Button Quail are territorial and generally should not be kept together.
  • Communicate with a variety of relatively quiet sounds, including crowing clicking, and chirps.
  • Provide foraging toys, which provide important mental stimulation.

Habitat Maintenance

  • Clean and disinfect the habitat regularly; replace substrate or habitat liner weekly or more often as needed.
  • Replace dishes and toys when worn or damaged; rotate new toys into the habitat regularly.
  • Ensure that there are no habitat parts or toys with lead, zinc or lead-based paints or galvanized parts as these can cause serious medical issues if ingested by your bird.
  • Do not use a lot of cleaning agents around your bird as the fumes can be harmful. It is recommended to use a natural cleaning product.

Grooming & Hygiene

  • Provide a shallow bowl large enough for the bird to sit in, add chinchilla dust or a similar product for dust bathing.
  • Nails should be trimmed by a qualified person to prevent injury to the bird.


Signs of a Healthy Animal

  • Active, alert, and sociable
  • Eats and drinks throughout the day
  • Dry nares and bright, dry eyes
  • Beak, legs and feet normal in appearance
  • Clean, dry vent
  • Smooth, well-groomed feathers

Red Flags

  • beak swelling or accumulations
  • fluffed, plucked, or soiled feathers
  • sitting on floor of habitat
  • wheezing or coughing
  • runny or discolored stools
  • favoring one foot
  • eye or nasal discharge
  • red or swollen eyes
  • loss of appetite

If you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian.

Common Health Issues

Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Health Issue Diarrhea Symptoms or Causes Fecal portion of stool not formed. Multiple causes, from change in diet to internal parasites. Suggested Action Consult your veterinarian and ensure correct diet.
Health Issue Lice or feather mites Symptoms or Causes Restlessness, scratching, feather picking. Suggested Action Consult your veterinarian and clean habitat.
Health Issue Avian pox Symptoms or Causes Lesions in mouth, scabs on eyes and face. Suggested Action Isolate bird and consult your veterinarian.


Ask an associate about Petco’s selection of books on Button Quails and the variety of Petco Brand products available for the care and happiness of your new pet. All Petco Brand products carry a 100% money-back guarantee.

Because all Button Quail are potential carriers of infectious diseases, such as Chlamydiosis, always wash your hands before and after handling your Button Quail and/or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of diseases. Work with your avian veterinarian on protocols to treat your bird should the bird contract Chlamydiosis.

Pregnant women, children under the age of 5 and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing and/or caring for a Button Quail and should consider not having a Button Quail as a pet.

Go to the Centers for Disease Control at for more information about Button Quail and disease.

This care sheet can cover the needs of other species.

Note: The information in this Care Sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please refer to the sources on the following page or contact your veterinarian as appropriate.

Developed with and approved by a qualified veterinarian.