Gloucestershire

Tiny Chinese bird discovered in Gloucestershire garden

Chinese painted quail
Image caption It is thought the tiny quail, popular with birdkeepers, may have escaped from a private aviary

A tiny bird, originating from China, has been discovered in a back garden in Gloucestershire.

The brightly coloured exotic bird was spotted by a woman wandering around her garden in Bourton-on-the-Water.

Suspecting its rarity she contacted experts at Birdland, a nearby bird sanctuary, who identified it as a male Chinese painted quail.

It is thought the quail, which is now being looked after at Birdland, may have escaped from a private aviary.

Simon Blackwell, from the sanctuary, said it was not the sort of bird expected to be found in a garden in England.

'Prized for meat'

"The lady who discovered it definitely did the right thing in getting in touch with us," he said,

"These quails are little bigger than your hand and as a ground bird are particularly vulnerable to predation by cats or foxes.

"We'll do our best to try and trace his owner but in the meantime he is making himself at home in one of our aviaries."

Also known as the king quail, the Chinese painted quail is a member of the pheasant family and is a popular game bird prized for the flavour of its meat.

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