Five-day subacute dietary toxicity tests of 193 potential environmental contaminants, pesticides, organic solvents, and various adjuvants are presented for young coturnix (Japanese quail, Coturnix japonica Temminck and Schlegel). The report provides the most comprehensive data base available for avian subacute dietary toxicity tests and is primarily intended for use in ranking toxicities by a standard method that has a reasonable degree of environmental relevance. Findings are presented in two parts: Part I is a critique of selected drugs that includes discussion of subacute toxicity in relation to chemical class and structure, pesticide formulation, and age of animals; Part II is a summary of toxicologic findings for each test substance and provides a statistically basis for comparing toxicities. Data presented include the median lethal concentration (LC50), slope of the probit regression curve (dose-response curve), response chronology, and food consumption. We observed that: 1) fewer than 15% of the compounds were classed 'very' or 'highly' toxic (i.e, LC50 < 200 ppm) and all of these were either chlorinated hydrocarbons, organophosphates, or organometallics; 2) subacute toxicity may vary widely among structurally similar chemicals and between different formulations of the same chemical; therefore, conclusions about lethal hazard must be made cautiously until the actual formulation of inset has been tested: 3) inclusion of a general standard in each battery of tests is useful for detection of atypical trials and monitoring population changes but should not be used indiscriminantly for adjusting LC50's for intertest differences unless the chemicals of concern and the standard elicit their toxicities through the same action; 4) although other species have been tested effectively under the subacute protocol, coturnix were ideal for the stated purpose of this research because they are inexpensive, well-adapted to the laboratory environment, and yield good intertest reproducibility of response.