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Buttonquails: Turnicidae

Painted Buttonquail (turnix Varia): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: The painted buttonquail is a large species 6.7 to 9.1 inches (17 to 23 centimeters) in length and 1.9 to 4.7 ounces (53 to 134 grams) in weight, with the female significantly larger than the male. The painted buttonquail is generally red in color with a gray breast and red eyes.

Geographic range: The painted buttonquail is found in eastern, southeastern, and southwestern Australia, on islands off the coast of southwestern Australia, and in New Caledonia.

Painted buttonquails scratch on the ground to find seeds, insects and other invertebrates, and green plant shoots to eat. (Illustration by John Megahan. Reproduced by permission.)

Habitat: The painted buttonquail is found in diverse habitats from grassland to grassy or open forest, and in grassy clearings within dense forests.

Diet: The painted buttonquail eats seeds, insects and other invertebrates, and green plant shoots. Food is found by scratching on the ground.

Behavior and reproduction: Reproduction occurs in late winter to autumn in southern and eastern habitats, and all year round in tropical regions. Female painted buttonquails are sequentially polyandrous. Generally three or four eggs are laid at a time; these hatch after thirteen to fourteen days. The male feeds the chick for seven to ten days. At ten days chicks can fly, and by twenty-three days they are the same size as adults.

Painted buttonquails and people: Painted buttonquails are bred for food.

Conservation status: Painted buttonquails are not threatened. ∎



del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, and J. Sargatal, eds. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 3, Hoatzin to Auks. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions, 1996.

Johnsgard, P. A. Bustards, Hemipodes, and Sandgrouse. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Perrins, Christopher, ed. Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books, 2003.

Web sites:

"Button-quails, quail-plover." Bird Families of the World, Cornell University. http://www.es.cornell.edu/winkler/botw/turnicidae.html (accessed on April 1, 2004).

"Turnicidae (Buttonquails)." The Internet Bird Collection. http://www.hbw.com/ibc/phtml/familia.phtml?idFamilia=42 (accessed on April 1, 2004).

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