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Species Guide
A photo of a Painted Buttonquail (Turnix varius)
Painted Buttonquail

Painted Buttonquail

Turnix varius

The Painted Buttonquail, Turnix varius, presents a charming sight with its modest size of 19 to 20 cm in length. This terrestrial bird graces the grassy forests and woodlands with its presence, blending seamlessly into the undergrowth.

Identification Tips

Distinguishing the sexes of the Painted Buttonquail can be quite a visual treat. The female outshines her male counterpart with a more vivid palette. Her eyes gleam with a reddish hue, and her plumage is adorned with white flecks across the crown, face, and breast. A rich chestnut blankets her shoulders, elegantly streaked with slender white lines. The male, though slightly smaller, carries a more subdued coloration, lacking the female's flamboyant display.


The Painted Buttonquail thrives on the ground, favoring the shelter of grassy forests and woodlands where it can forage and nest with a degree of concealment.


This species is a proud resident of Australia, with its range sprawling from Queensland down to New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania. A distinct population dots the southwestern part of Western Australia, while the subspecies Turnix varius scintillans claims the Houtman Abrolhos islands as its exclusive domain. Notably, around 2002, the Painted Buttonquail established a presence on Rottnest Island.


The Painted Buttonquail engages in a fascinating reversal of traditional avian roles. The males take on the responsibility of incubating the eggs for a fortnight, followed by the tender care of their offspring, a duty often reserved for females in other bird species.

Diet and Feeding

An opportunistic forager, the Painted Buttonquail sustains itself on a diet comprising both insects and seeds, gleaning these from the ground as it moves through its habitat.

Conservation status

Despite a wide range and no precise estimate of its population size, the Painted Buttonquail is suspected to be experiencing a decline in numbers. Its status varies from common to uncommon depending on the suitability of the habitat. The IUCN, however, has classified it as "Least Concern," indicating that, for now, the species does not face an immediate threat of extinction.

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Painted Buttonquails on Birda


More Buttonquail

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

Barred Buttonquail

Turnix suscitator
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