Painted buttonquail

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Painted buttonquail
Turnix varius - Castlereigh nature reserve.jpg
Adult painted buttonquail; mainland subspecies

Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)[1]
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Turnicidae
Genus: Turnix
T. varius
Binomial name
Turnix varius
(Latham, 1801)
Painted Button-Quail.jpg
Distribution of the painted button quail
  • Turnix varia (Latham, 1801) (lapsus)
  • Turnix novaecaledoniae

The painted buttonquail (Turnix varius) is a species of buttonquail, the family Turnicidae, which resemble, but are unrelated to, the quails of Phasianidae. This species is resident in Australia where numbers are believed to be in decline. A subspecies, the Abrolhos painted buttonquail (Turnix varius scintillans), is endemic to the Houtman Abrolhos islands.


The painted buttonquail was first described by the English ornithologist

binomial name Perdix varia.[2]

"Painted buttonquail" has been designated the official name by the International Ornithologists' Union (IOC).[3]

Two subspecies are recognised.[3]

The possibly-extinct New Caledonian buttonquail (Turnix novaecaledoniae) of New Caledonia was formerly considered conspecific, but was split as a distinct species by the IOC in 2021.[4]


The painted buttonquail is about 19 to 20 cm (7.5 to 7.9 in) long. It is a ground-dwelling bird and is found in grassy forests and woodlands. It feeds on insects and seeds, and the males incubate the eggs for a fortnight and then care for the young.

The female is the more brightly coloured of the sexes. Her eyes are red, and her crown, face and breast are flecked with white. Her shoulders are chestnut with thin white streaking above them. The male is slightly smaller and duller in colour.

Distribution and habitat

The painted buttonquail is native to Australia. Its range extends from Queensland southwards to New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. A separate population is present in the southwestern part of Western Australia. The subspecies Turnix varius scintillans is endemic to the Houtman Abrolhos islands off the west coast of Australia.

The painted buttonquail became established on Rottnest Island around 2002.[5]


The painted buttonquail has a wide range. An estimate of the population size has not been made but numbers are suspected to be in decline. It is said to be common in suitable habitat in some areas and uncommon in others. The

Least Concern".[6]


  1. . Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  2. ^ Latham, John (1801). Supplementum indicis ornithologici sive systematis ornithologiae (in Latin). London: Leigh & Sotheby. p. lxiii.
  3. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2021). "Buttonquail, thick-knees, sheathbills, plovers, oystercatchers, stilts, painted-snipes, jacanas, Plains-wanderer, seedsnipes". World Bird List Version 12.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  4. ^ "Species Updates – IOC World Bird List". Retrieved 2021-06-13.
  5. S2CID 87832707. Archived from the original
    (PDF) on 2020-02-26.
  6. ^ "Species factsheet: Turnix varius". BirdLife International. Retrieved 2013-12-16.

External links