Buttonquail trailcam footage.

Whilst bird-walking locally this year (2023) I noticed an increase in the amount of buttonquail ‘platelets’ in the vine-forest scrub near the banks of the North Pine River. ‘Platelets’ are created by various species of Turnicidae when they spin around and kick the leaf-litter exposing the bare-earth whilst searching for invertebrates and seeds on the ground. I have never seen any of these birds perched in trees before. Initially, I assumed that the platelets were made by Painted Buttonquail (Turnix varia), which are the most frequently encountered Turnix species in the general area, but, after placing audio-sensors and trail-cameras out I discovered that they were actually made by Black-breasted Buttonquail (Turnix melanogaster). In the past year I’ve captured a reasonable amount of this rare and declining species on camera, but have only seen physically them on a couple of occasions. Interestingly, all buttonquails are polyandrous (the females are usually more colourful and leave the parental-care to the males.)

One of the first-clips from July 2023, this infra-red footage shows three foraging-birds and how, when a threat is perceived, they can ‘freeze’. Check the bird on the right: it moves very slightly.

Unfortunately the footage from the trailcams are not high-quality but it is definitely possible to identify which species is evident.

Female Black-breasted Buttonquail
Male Black-breasted Buttonquail
Female Black-breasted Buttonquail

During October I noticed another bird taken on an animal-track nearby, to my surprise this was actually a Painted Buttonquail.

Painted Buttonquail
Female Black-breasted Buttonquail
Female (…..and male, just) Black-breasted Buttonquail

Check out the camouflage of this male BBBQ (…footage just captured!) He is foraging in a platelet then is ‘alerted’ to some danger and freezes.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *