Well-characterized molecular and cytogenetic maps are yet to be established in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). The aim of the current study was to cytogenetically map and determine linkage of specific genes and gene complexes in Japanese quail through the use of chicken (Gallus gallus) and turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) genomic DNA probes and conduct a comparative study among the three genomes. Chicken and turkey clones were used as probes on mitotic metaphase and meiotic pachytene stage chromosomes of the three species for the purpose of high-resolution fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). The genes and complexes studied included telomerase RNA (TR), telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT), 5S rDNA, 18S-5.8S-28S rDNA (i.e., nucleolus organizer region (NOR)), and the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). The telomeric profile of Japanese quail was investigated through the use of FISH with a TTAGGG-PNA probe. A range of telomeric array sizes were confirmed as found for the other poultry species. Three NOR loci were identified in Japanese quail, and single loci each for TR, TERT, 5S rDNA and the MHC-B. The MHC-B and one NOR locus were linked on a microchromosome in Japanese quail. We confirmed physical linkage of 5S rDNA and the TR gene on an intermediate-sized chromosome in quail, similar to both chicken and turkey. TERT localized to CJA 2 in quail and the orthologous chromosome region in chicken (GGA 2) and in turkey (MGA 3). The cytogenetic profile of Japanese quail was further developed by this study and synteny was identified among the three poultry species.