QUAIL

QUAIL (Heb. שְׂלָו), the bird Coturnix coturnix, the smallest of the pheasant family. The quail is approximately seven inches (about 18 cm.) long and weighs some 3½ ounces (100 gr.). The color of its plumage is like that of the house sparrow, a fact indicated in the Talmud, which also states that the quail is one of four species of pheasant (the other being the pheasant and two species of partridge ), that its flesh is very fatty and its taste inferior to that of the other species (Yoma 75b). Large flocks of quail provided food for the Israelites in the wilderness having been blown across the sea by a wind which "let them fall by the camp, about a day's journey on this side, and a day's journey on the other side, round about the camp, and about two cubits above the face of the earth." Some were eaten fresh, the rest being spread out on the ground to dry in the sun (Num. 11:31–33; cf. Ex. 16:3–4; Ps. 78:26–27; 105:40). According to Josephus, flocks of quails from the Arabian gulf "came flying over this stretch of sea, and, alike wearied by their flight and withal accustomed more than other birds to skim the ground, settled in the Hebrews' camp" (Ant. 3:25). This description is factual. The phenomenon repeats itself in spring and in fall when large flocks of quail pass over the Mediterranean Sea on their migration from northern countries to Africa in fall and on their return in spring. Weary from their lengthy flight, the flocks settle on the southern coast of the country (between Gaza and El-Arish), to be caught in nets spread out before they settle, into which they fall exhausted. The local population eats them, selling most of them in city markets. Until the 1930s and 1940s millions of quails were caught in this way at these seasons but their number has since decreased. In addition to the migratory flocks of quails, some of them breed in cereal and fodder fields in various regions of Israel, building their nests on the ground. Their grayish-brown color conceals them from human sight and only when approached do they rise in noisy flight, coming to rest in a nearby field, since their comparatively short wings make it difficult for them to fly high. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lewysohn, Zool, 210f., no. 260; F.S. Bodenheimer, Animal and Man in Bible Lands (1960), 59; J. Feiks, Animal World of the Bible (1962), 56. (Jehuda Feliks)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Quail — Quail, n. [OF. quaille, F. caille, LL. quaquila, qualia, qualea, of Dutch or German origin; cf. D. kwakkel, kwartel, OHG. wahtala, G. wachtel.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) Any gallinaceous bird belonging to {Coturnix} and several allied genera… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Quail — Quail, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Qualled}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Qualling}.] [AS. cwelan to die, perish; akin to cwalu violent death, D. kwaal pain, G. qual torment, OHG. quelan to suffer torment, Lith. gelti to hurt, gela pain. Cf. {Quell}.] 1. To die; to …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • quail — the bird [14] and quail ‘cower’ [15] are not related. The former comes via Old French quaille from medieval Latin coacula, which probably originated in imitation of the bird’s grating cry. It is not known for certain where the verb (which… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • Quail — Quail, TX U.S. Census Designated Place in Texas Population (2000): 33 Housing Units (2000): 16 Land area (2000): 3.168881 sq. miles (8.207363 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 3.168881 sq. miles (8 …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Quail, TX — U.S. Census Designated Place in Texas Population (2000): 33 Housing Units (2000): 16 Land area (2000): 3.168881 sq. miles (8.207363 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 3.168881 sq. miles (8.207363 sq …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • quail — quail·berry; quail; un·quail·ing·ly; …   English syllables

  • quail — the bird [14] and quail ‘cower’ [15] are not related. The former comes via Old French quaille from medieval Latin coacula, which probably originated in imitation of the bird’s grating cry. It is not known for certain where the verb (which… …   Word origins

  • Quail — Quail, v. t. [Cf. {Quell}.] To cause to fail in spirit or power; to quell; to crush; to subdue. [Obs.] Spenser. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Quail — Quail, v. i. [OF. coaillier, F. cailler, from L. coagulare. See {Coagulate}.] To curdle; to coagulate, as milk. [Obs.] Holland. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • quail — Ⅰ. quail [1] ► NOUN (pl. same or quails) ▪ a small short tailed game bird, typically with brown camouflaged plumage. ORIGIN Old French quaille, from Latin coacula. Ⅱ. quail [2] ► VERB …   English terms dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.