This small bird measures up to 17 centimetres in length. It has dark brown markings above and on the breast and head, with narrow whitish eye-stripes. The male has a white chin.
The quail lives on farmland and grassland. It is found across Europe, except for the north and northwest. It spends the winter in Africa, migrating during the night.
Often heard but rarely seen, the quail keeps itself well hidden among farm crops. Its call — mainly heard at dusk and daybreak — is a rhythmic trisyllabic phrase, rapidly repeated three to eight times. It nests on the ground, eating grains, young plants and invertebrates.