Bird O'clock

Fascinating Facts About the Barred Buttonquail: from Identification to Breeding

Barred Buttonquail, Turnix suscitatorThe Barred Buttonquail, Turnix suscitator, is a small bird species found in Asia, Australia, and parts of the Pacific Islands. This unique bird species leaves an impression on those who observe it due to its distinctive features and peculiar behaviors.

In this article, we will explore the identification of the Barred Buttonquail, its plumages, and molts, including its similarities to other bird species. Identification:

Field Identification:

The Barred Buttonquail is a small bird species, about the size of a sparrow, with a rounded body and short tail.

The average length of this bird species is between 14-17cm and its weight varies from 30-70g. The Barred Buttonquail has a brown plumage with intricate scales, spots, and bars on its upperparts.

Its underparts range from pale yellow to buff. This bird species has a short neck, triangular wings, and a short bill.

We often encounter the Barred Buttonquail in dry bushes, grasslands, and cultivated fields. Similar Species:

The Barred Buttonquail has distinct markings that differentiate it from other bird species.

It is important to note the difference between the male and female Barred Buttonquail, as they may appear quite different. The male Barred Buttonquail has bright chestnut red on its wings and sides of the neck.

The female, on the other hand, lacks the bright red of the male and is slightly plainer in its plumage. It is essential to distinguish the Barred Buttonquail from others that may appear similar, such as the Painted Buttonquail.

To do this, look for the chestnut red of the Barred Buttonquail’s wings and sides of the neck, contrasting with its brown plumage. Plumages:

Molts:

The Barred Buttonquail’s molt pattern is not well known, but it is known that they undergo a complete molt once a year.

This molt occurs during the non-breeding season and can last from several weeks to several months. During this time, the Barred Buttonquail’s feathers are discarded and replaced with fresh ones.

The female Barred Buttonquail has several unique plumages throughout the year. During the breeding season, the female’s plumage is plain with fewer markings and scales.

However, during the non-breeding season, the female has a more intricate plumage that matches the coloration of the male. The male Barred Buttonquail’s plumage remains the same throughout the year, with the exception of a few feather tracts that change color during the breeding season.

The chestnut red of the male’s wings and sides of the neck stand out during the breeding season, and these feathers are discarded after the season is over. Conclusion:

In summary, the Barred Buttonquail, Turnix suscitator, is a unique bird species found in Asia, Australia, and parts of the Pacific Islands.

Its size, brown plumage, intricate scales, and spots make it a remarkable species to identify in the field. It is essential to differentiate it from other similar bird species, such as the Painted Buttonquail.

The Barred Buttonquail’s molts and plumages are not well documented, but it is known that the female has a more complex plumage during the non-breeding season that resembles the male’s coloration. The Barred Buttonquail is a fascinating bird species, and we hope this article has exemplified its peculiarities and features.

Systematics History:

The history of systematics for the Barred Buttonquail, Turnix suscitator, is a long and convoluted one. In 1816, Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot first described this species.

However, he originally misidentified this species as Ortygometra fasciata, which is currently a junior synonym. In 1829, Nicholas Aylward Vigors and Thomas Horsfield published a comprehensive work on the genus Turnix, in which they placed the Barred Buttonquail.

This work established the genus Turnix and the species Turnix suscitator. Geographic Variation:

The Barred Buttonquail is a widely distributed species found throughout Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.

As a result, there is a lot of geographic variation among populations of this bird species. The Barred Buttonquail populations in Asia have a more distinctive plumage than those in Australia.

The Barred Buttonquail’s underparts can range from pale yellow to buff, and the scales on its upperparts have different colors, depending on its geographic location. Subspecies:

The Barred Buttonquail is currently divided into 13 subspecies, each with its own unique characteristics.

The subspecies are as follows: Turnix suscitator mindanensis, Turnix suscitator atrogularis, Turnix suscitator ocularis, Turnix suscitator kuehni, Turnix suscitator maculosus, Turnix suscitator pallescens, Turnix suscitator olivaceus, Turnix suscitator celebensis, Turnix suscitator whiteheadi, Turnix suscitator novaecaledoniae, Turnix suscitator houyi, Turnix suscitator suspectus, and Turnix suscitator plumbipes. These subspecies are differentiated based on their geographic range, morphology, and vocalizations.

Related Species:

The Barred Buttonquail is part of the Turnicidae family, which includes approximately 17 species of buttonquails. The closest relative to the Barred Buttonquail is the Black-breasted Buttonquail, Turnix melanogaster, as molecular studies have revealed genetic similarities between the two species.

The Black-breasted Buttonquail differs from the Barred Buttonquail in morphology, with a black patch on its chest and neck. Despite this, both species have similar behaviors and occupy similar habitats.

Historical Changes to Distribution:

The Barred Buttonquail’s historical distribution has changed significantly due to several factors, including habitat destruction, hunting, and climate change. Historical records indicate that this species was present in the Maldives and Madagascar, but these populations have since gone extinct.

The Barred Buttonquail was present on Guam until the 1960s, but it has since disappeared from the island. In Australia, habitat destruction and fragmentation have significantly impacted Barred Buttonquail populations.

In particular, the Barred Buttonquail’s habitat has been destroyed for agricultural development, which has resulted in a decline in population numbers. Similarly, the Barred Buttonquail was once widespread throughout the Philippines, but habitat destruction and hunting have led to population declines, which have resulted in several subspecies being listed as threatened or endangered.

Climate change is also a threat to the Barred Buttonquail’s distribution. In parts of Southeast Asia, where this species is present, there has been an increase in drought frequency and intensity.

This impacts the availability of water and suitable habitat for the Barred Buttonquail. Additionally, rising sea levels can impact the Barred Buttonquail’s habitat on low-lying islands.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the Barred Buttonquail’s systematics history is a complex one, with multiple changes and revisions over time. This species displays significant geographic variation in morphology and vocalizations, leading to the recognition of 13 subspecies.

The Barred Buttonquail’s closest relative is the Black-breasted Buttonquail. The Barred Buttonquail’s historical distribution has changed significantly due to habitat destruction, hunting, and climate change.

These factors continue to pose threats to the Barred Buttonquail’s population numbers and geographic distribution, highlighting the importance of conservation efforts for this unique and fascinating species. Habitat:

The Barred Buttonquail, Turnix suscitator, occupies a variety of habitats across its wide distribution range, which includes Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.

This species is found in a range of ecosystems, from tropical rainforests to grasslands and agricultural fields. However, it prefers habitats with heavy vegetation cover, such as dense shrubs and bushes, which provide cover and protection from predators.

The Barred Buttonquail is also known to occupy seasonal wetlands, such as flooded grasslands, rice paddies, and shallow marshes, as these areas provide the bird species with access to food sources like insects, seeds, and small invertebrates. In Australia, the Barred Buttonquail is most commonly found in grassy woodland areas and open forests.

These areas are characterized by a combination of tall shrubs, open grassland, and small patches of trees. This habitat provides the Barred Buttonquail with the necessary vegetation cover and access to food sources, such as seeds and insects.

The Barred Buttonquail is also known to occupy disturbed habitats, such as agricultural fields, where it can find suitable cover and food. Movements and Migration:

The movement patterns of the Barred Buttonquail are not well understood, as this species is relatively sedentary.

However, there have been some reports of seasonal movements in certain populations. For example, populations of the Barred Buttonquail in Southeast Asia have been reported to make seasonal movements in response to changes in rainfall patterns.

During the dry season, Barred Buttonquail populations in Southeast Asia are known to move to areas with more reliable water sources. Conversely, during the wet season, they move to areas with more vegetation cover and food sources.

In Australia, the Barred Buttonquail is considered to be sedentary, with little evidence of long-distance movements or migrations. However, there have been some reports of seasonal movements by Barred Buttonquail populations in northern Australia.

These movements are likely in response to changes in food availability and water sources. Some Barred Buttonquail populations are known to disperse as juveniles, with young birds traveling short distances in search of suitable habitat.

This dispersal behavior is common among bird species, as it allows young individuals to establish their own territories outside of their natal range. However, for the Barred Buttonquail, this behavior is not well documented, and the extent of their dispersal is not known.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the Barred Buttonquail occupies a variety of habitats across its wide distribution range, with a preference for areas with heavy vegetation cover and access to food sources. Despite this, the Barred Buttonquail is relatively sedentary, with little evidence of long-distance movements or migrations.

However, seasonal movements in response to changing environmental conditions have been observed in some populations. Dispersal behavior is also present in some Barred Buttonquail populations, with young individuals traveling short distances in search of suitable habitat.

Further research is needed to fully understand the movement patterns and behavior of the Barred Buttonquail, highlighting the need for continued conservation efforts to protect this unique bird species. Diet and Foraging:

Feeding:

The Barred Buttonquail is omnivorous, feeding on a range of insects, small invertebrates, seeds, and plants.

This bird species uses its short, sharp beak to dig through leaf litter and soil to find food. The Barred Buttonquail is often seen foraging on the ground, and it prefers dense vegetation cover, such as bushes and shrubs, as these areas provide protection and cover from predators.

Diet:

The Barred Buttonquail’s diet varies depending on its geographic location and season. In Southeast Asia, where this bird species is present, its diet consists primarily of insects, such as beetles, bugs, and grasshoppers.

Additionally, in Australia, the Barred Buttonquail feeds on a range of seeds, including grass seeds, and insects, such as ants and spiders. Metabolism and Temperature Regulation:

The Barred Buttonquail is a small bird species, and as such, has a high metabolism.

This bird species must consume a significant amount of food daily to maintain its body temperature, which is essential for its survival. The Barred Buttonquail has a rapid metabolic rate, which helps it to regulate its body temperature.

To conserve energy, the Barred Buttonquail may enter into periods of torpor, where its body temperature and metabolism slow down. Sounds and Vocal Behavior:

Vocalizations:

The Barred Buttonquail is a vocal bird species, and it has a range of calls and songs that it uses to communicate with others of its kind.

The Barred Buttonquail’s vocalizations are often monotonous and repetitive, consisting of a series of notes or phrases. The Barred Buttonquail uses vocalizations to establish its territory, attract mates, and warn others of potential predators.

The Barred Buttonquail’s vocalizations vary depending on its sex and age. Male Barred Buttonquails are known for their characteristic “tie-eer” call, which they use to establish their territory and attract mates.

Females, on the other hand, have a lower-pitched call that is often used to communicate with their young. The Barred Buttonquail’s vocal behavior has been studied in both wild and captive populations.

It has been found that this bird species is able to learn new vocalizations, and captive individuals have been known to imitate the vocalizations of other bird species. Conclusion:

In conclusion, the Barred Buttonquail is an omnivorous bird species that feeds on a range of insects, small invertebrates, seeds, and plants.

Its diet varies depending on its geographic location and season. The Barred Buttonquail has a high metabolism, which requires a significant amount of food to maintain its body temperature.

This bird species is vocal and has a range of calls and songs that it uses to communicate with others of its kind. Its vocal behavior varies depending on its sex and age, and it has been found to have the ability to learn new vocalizations.

Further research is needed to fully understand the vocal behavior and communication of the Barred Buttonquail, highlighting the importance of continued conservation efforts to protect this unique and fascinating bird species. Behavior:

Locomotion:

The Barred Buttonquail is a ground-dwelling bird species, and as such, its primary means of locomotion is walking and running.

It has a distinctive, bobbing gait, which is characteristic of many ground-dwelling bird species. The Barred Buttonquail is not known to fly for extended periods, as it prefers to remain on the ground.

Self Maintenance:

As with many bird species, the Barred Buttonquail engages in extensive self-maintenance behaviors to keep its plumage and body clean and in good condition. These behaviors include preening, dust-bathing, and bathing in water.

Preening involves the use of the beak to clean and oil the feathers, while dust-bathing helps to remove excess oil and dirt from the feathers. Bathing in water involves the bird species flapping its wings to create a splash, which helps to wash away dirt and parasites.

Agonistic Behavior:

The Barred Buttonquail is known to engage in agonistic behavior at times, particularly during the breeding season. Agonistic behavior involves aggressive displays, posturing, and sometimes physical combat between individuals.

Male Barred Buttonquails are known to engage in physical combat during the breeding season, particularly when competing for mates or territories. Females also display aggressive behavior towards intruders if they feel their nest or young are threatened.

Sexual Behavior:

The Barred Buttonquail engages in a range of sexual behaviors during the breeding season. Male Barred Buttonquails establish territories and perform courtship displays to attract mates.

Courtship displays involve a range of behaviors, such as calling, physical displays, and posturing. Male Barred Buttonquails also use their distinctive calls to establish their territory and deter other males.

Once a mate has been chosen, pair bonding occurs, and the pair work together to build a nest and raise their young. Breeding:

The breeding season for the Barred Buttonquail varies depending on its geographic location and season.

In Australia, breeding occurs from August to April, while in Southeast Asia, breeding occurs from February to August. During the breeding season, male Barred Buttonquails establish territories, which they defend from other males.

Female Barred Buttonquails select a mate based on the male’s courtship display and territory quality. The Barred Buttonquail builds a shallow, grass-lined nest, typically on the ground in the vegetation cover.

Egg-laying occurs in clutches of one to six eggs, depending on the subspecies and location. Incubation is primarily the responsibility of the female, who sits on the eggs for approximately three weeks until they hatch.

Demography and Populations:

The Barred Buttonquail’s population numbers vary depending on its geographic location and subspecies. Many subspecies of this bird species have experienced significant population declines due to habitat destruction, hunting, and introduced predators, such as rats and cats.

In Australia, the Barred Buttonquail is listed as a species of least concern, with stable population numbers. However, the Barred Buttonquail’s distribution range in Australia has declined due to habitat destruction and fragmentation.

In Southeast Asia, where many subspecies of the Barred Buttonquail are present, populations have experienced significant declines due to hunting, habitat destruction, and changes in land use. Several subspecies are listed as threatened or endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), highlighting the need for conservation efforts to protect this unique and fascinating bird species.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the Barred Buttonquail engages in a range of behaviors, including locomotion, self-maintenance

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