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A photo of a Barred Buttonquail (Turnix suscitator), male
Barred Buttonquail, Male

Barred Buttonquail

Turnix suscitator

The barred buttonquail, known scientifically as Turnix suscitator, is a fascinating bird that bears a resemblance to true quails but is not closely related to them. This species is adorned with a rufous-brown plumage on its upper parts, while its underparts are a mix of rusty and buff. The females are particularly striking, being larger and more vividly colored than their male counterparts, with a black throat and central breast area.

Identification Tips

When observing the barred buttonquail, look for the distinctive blue-grey bill and legs, as well as the yellowish-white eyes that set this bird apart. In flight, one may notice pale buff shoulder patches on the wings. A key feature to differentiate this species from true quails is the absence of a hind toe.

Habitat

The barred buttonquail thrives in a variety of habitats, excluding dense forests and deserts. It is commonly found in scrub jungles, light deciduous forests, and agricultural lands, adapting well to its surroundings.

Distribution

This species has a wide range, residing from India and stretching across tropical Asia to southern China, Indonesia, and the Philippines. It can be found at elevations up to 2500 meters in the Himalayas.

Behaviour

The barred buttonquail is known for its dust bathing habits and is often seen in pairs within its preferred habitats. It exhibits a unique call that resembles the sound of a motorcycle, a distinctive drr-r-r-r-r-r, and a loud hoon-hoon-hoon.

Breeding

In the world of buttonquails, it is the female that takes charge. She is polyandrous, initiating courtship, and constructing the ground nest. The female engages in combat with other females to secure a mate, and after laying eggs, she leaves them in the care of the male. The male then incubates the eggs and tends to the young, which are precocial and able to run immediately after hatching. Breeding occurs throughout the year, with the nest typically being a grass-lined depression, often concealed by surrounding vegetation. Clutches usually consist of 3 to 4 eggs, speckled with reddish-brown or blackish-purple.

Conservation Status

The barred buttonquail is classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating that it is widespread and common throughout its extensive range.

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