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Buttonquails: Turnicidae

Physical Characteristics

Buttonquails are small birds that are short and thick in build. They have small heads, short necks, short legs, and almost no tail. Unlike most birds, buttonquails have only three toes; the hind toe is absent. Buttonquails have short bills that vary between slender (in species that eat mostly insects) and stout (in species that eat mostly seeds). Buttonquails vary in size from 4 to 9 inches (10 to 23 centimeters) in length and 0.7 to 5.3 ounces (20 to 150 grams) in weight.

Buttonquails tend to be brownish, grayish, or dullish red in color. Their backs are often mottled, that is, covered with spots or splotches, or irregularly striped, helping them to blend in against their habitat. The breast, however, is often red or black and white. Buttonquail females are larger and more brightly colored than the males.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsButtonquails: Turnicidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Small Buttonquail (turnix Sylvatica): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, BUTTONQUAILS AND PEOPLE