(Science: ornithology) Any one of numerous species of birds belonging to Turnix or Hemipodius and allied genera of the family Turnicidae. These birds resemble quails and partridges in general appearance and in some of their habits, but differ in important anatomical characteristics. The hind toe is usually lacking. They are found in Asia, Africa, Southern Europe, the East Indian islands, and especially. In Australia and adjacent islands, where they are called quails (see Quail, 3). See turnicimorphae.
Origin: NL, fr. L. Coturnix a quail.