New Zealand Quail Coturnix novaezelandiae


Justification of Red List Category
This species formerly occurred on New Zealand's South Island, but is now Extinct, probably due to diseases spread by introduced game birds. A bird that died in 1875 is thought to represent the last individual of the species.

Population justification
None remain.

Distribution and population

Coturnix novaezelandiae was endemic to North, South and Great Barrier Islands, New Zealand (Marchant and Higgins 1993). It was considered fairly common until the mid-19th century, but declined rapidly to extinction by 1875 (Holdaway 1999). Recent suggestions that a quail population on Tiritiri Matangi Island may be a surviving form of this species were disproven by genetic testing, showing them to be Brown Quail C. ypsilophora (Seabrook-Davison et al. 2009).


It inhabited open habitats, especially grass-covered downs.


Extinction was initially thought to have been caused by large-scale burning, predation by dogs, cats and rats, and grazing by sheep (Marchant and Higgins 1993). More recently, diseases spread by introduced gamebirds have been hypothesised to account for its rapid extinction (Knox and Walters 1994).


Text account compilers
Brooks, T., Khwaja, N., Mahood, S., Martin, R

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Coturnix novaezelandiae. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 06/06/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 06/06/2020.