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Painted buttonquail facts for kids

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Painted buttonquail
Turnix varius - Castlereigh nature reserve.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
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 John Latham in 1801 under the binomial name Perdix varia.


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.


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. Another subspecies, Turnix varius novaecaledoniae was endemic to New Caledonia but is believed to be extinct as it has not been recorded since 1912.

The painted buttonquail became established on Rottnest Island around 2002.


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 IUCN has listed it as being of "Least Concern".

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