Male Californian Quail. The native New Zealand Quail was uncommon during early European settlement in NZ and considered extinct by about 1870. Californian quail were introduced to Nelson in 1865 and other parts of NZ soon followed. Today quail are the most common upland game bird in both the North and South Islands. New Zealand has three species of quail; california, brown and bobwhite. California quail are spread throughout New Zealand, while brown and bobwhite quail are more prevalent in the North Island.