On the Hunting of the Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix Linnaeus, 1758) Along the Mediterranean Coast of the Gaza Strip – Palestine

Abdel Fattah Nazmi Abd Rabou


Palestine is a major route for migratory birds coming from Europe to Africa and vice versa. Both migratory and resident birds are commonly hunted for different purposes using different means in the Gaza Strip. The current descriptive study, which is the first of its kind, aims at introducing information on the hunting of the Common Quail (Coturnix Coturnix Linnaeus, 1758) in the Gaza Strip, which is a 365 km2 arid to semi-arid coastal zone lying in the southern part of the Palestinian coast along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Since 2015, frequent field visits and discussions with bird hunters and other stakeholders have been carried out to get more information on quail hunting. Annually, hundreds of trammel or mist nets with camouflaging colors, having a height of about 2.5 meters and a distance of 100-200 meters off the coastline, are cleverly placed along the beach to hunt Common Quails and other non-target birds. Guns are used in hunting of quails scattering among inland low-growing vegetation types. The Common Quail is a source of livelihood for dozens of Gazan families, though it does not generate large sums throughout its hunting season. For several reasons, quail hunters claimed that the current quantities of Common Quails reaching the Gaza Strip do not exceed 20% of the amount that arrived 30-40 years ago. Along with the Common Quail, 50 migratory and resident bird species, with passerines making their half, were found to be incidentally caught in quail nets. Because of its feeding and healthy values, the demand of Gazans on Quail and its eggs is increasing day by day, and as a result, quail breeding was found to be a successful task in the Gaza Strip. The goodness of wild quail is many times greater than its farmed counterpart. The price of wild quail is USD 6-7 per pair, while the farmed counterpart is about USD 2 per pair. Finally, bird hunting should be regulated in the Gaza Strip in order to conserve wildlife in a sustainable fashion.




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