Brown quail were introduced to New Zealand as game birds in the 1860s and 1870s. However, the South Island liberations failed and now they are common only north of Auckland and in parts of the Bay of Plenty.
Their natural range is southern Indonesia, New Guinea, and Australia. It has been mooted that a species of the Australian brown quail was also native to New Zealand but the introduction of stocks of the same species from Australia makes it difficult to confirm.
The brown quail are an overall brownish colour, finely patterned with black and when scuttling for cover may be mistaken for a rat.
Rougher country is preferred with places to hide although, if pressed, will fly upwards with a whir of wings before landing in cover and quickly disappearing.