One of the most sought after quail in North America is the Mearns quail. It sometimes is confused with another popular quail also sometimes called the Harlequin. The African Harlequin is not the Mearns Harlequin. The African Harlequin comes from South Africa while the Mearns comes from the southern United States and Mexico.
The confusing factor is that the Mearns has many names. It is called the Harlequin quail, Black quail, Cincoreal quail, Codorniz Encinara, Codorniz Pinta, crazy quail, Mearns quail, painted quail and many more.
Mearns are the most unusual of the New World quail. They look like a committee put them together, as they are out of proportion when compared to any other quail. Their heads are extra large, and their eyes are big and compelling when they give you their famous 'melt your heart stare'.
Raising chicks: Most people have too much humidity in their incubators when hatching Mearns quail. If your hydrometer wet bulb is around 82 degrees F. this will allow the chicks to remain smaller and seem to be stronger when they hatch. Mearns chicks do not know to eat by instinct. They must be taught. In the wild, the parents catch and feed insects to the chicks from their beaks. Several methods have been used successfully to get the chicks to eat under captive conditions. The most popular is to fed small mealworms from tweezers to the chicks. (Never just throw mealworms into the pen for the chicks to pick up as the will begin to pick toes.) They soon learn that the mealworms tastes pretty good and will get on your hand for their food. Try anything that you can think of to convince them to eat or else they will die.