Pronunciation: [KWAYL]

The American quail is not related to the European quail, a migratory game bird belonging to the partridge family. But when colonists discovered birds that resembled the European version they called them by the same name. American quail are known by various names depending on the region—bobwhite in the East, partridge in the South, quail in the North and blue quail in the Southwest. Other notable members of this family are California quail, mountain quail and Montezuma quail. American quail nest on the ground and are not migratory—in fact, they'd rather walk than fly. They're very social and travel in small groups called coveys. The meat of the American quail is white and delicately flavored. In general, they should be cooked like other game birds—young birds can be roasted, broiled or fried and older fowl should be cooked with moist heat. Most of the quail marketed today are raised on game bird farms. Fresh quail can be ordered through specialty butchers, who might also carry frozen quail.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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