Turnix ocellatusspotted buttonquail

Geographic Range

Spotted buttonquail are found in and are endemic to Luzon, Phillipines (Finn, 1911; Delacour and Mayr, 1946). Very recently, they were found on Negros Island (Madge and McGowan, 2002). (Delacour and Mayr, 1946; Finn, 1911; Madge and McGowan, 2002)


Spotted buttonquail prefer grasslands with a few scattered bushes and are often found at the edge of ravines. They inhabit lowlands and can be found as high as 1800 m (Delacour and Mayr, 1946) to 2200m (Madge and McGowan, 2002) in areas with with oak and pine forests (Johnsgard, 1991). Turnix ocellatus may also be found in gardens or at the edge of bamboo forests (Madge and McGowan, 2002). (Delacour and Mayr, 1946; Johnsgard, 1991; Madge and McGowan, 2002)

  • Range elevation
    1800-2200 (high) m

Physical Description

Spotted buttonquail are approximately 17.8 cm in length (Finn, 1911). Wing length ranges from 88 to 102 mm for males and 97 to 111 mm for females. Male tail length ranges from 35 to 41 mm and tarsal length is 27 to 28 mm. For females, tail length is 43 to 46 mm and tarsal length is 28 to 30 mm. The weight of one bird was found to be 110 g (Madge and McGowan, 2002).

The more colorful female is gray-brown with mottled rufous and/or black above, a colored chestnut breast, buff abdomen, and yellow legs and bill (Finn, 1911). There is a chestnut collar across the upper back, whitish streaks on the back (which appear as four longitudinal stripes) and black spots on the wings bordered by buff forming "ocelli" (Delacour and Mayr, 1946). Immature birds have buff breasts with feathers tipped in black (Ogilvie-Grant, 1889). (Delacour and Mayr, 1946; Finn, 1911; Madge and McGowan, 2002; Ogilvie-Grant, 1889)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • female larger
  • female more colorful
  • Average mass
    110 g
    3.88 oz
  • Average length
    17.8 cm
    7.01 in


Polyandry is common in spotted buttonquail. (Madge and McGowan, 2002)

Breeding occurs from May to August and in February. The nest is a scrape or depression in the ground, lined with leaves, and concealed by sticks. Sometimes the nest is slightly elevated off the ground and situated in the lower stems of shrubs. Two to four greyish-white eggs are laid per clutch. Eggs are highly speckled with grey to purple markings or blotches. (Madge and McGowan, 2002)

  • Breeding season
    Breeding occurs from May to August and in February.
  • Range eggs per season
    2 to 4

We do not have information on parental investment for this species at this time.


We do not have information on lifespan/logevity for this species at this time.


Little is known about the social behavior of these buttonquail (Johnsgard, 1991). There are no known records or data on vocalizations or breeding behavior. Spotted buttonquail will flush from cover very reluctantly. When flushed, they take flight at less than one meter off the ground or run and freeze in place while under new cover. These birds may feed in close proximity to humans without revealing their whereabouts. Spotted buttonquail are considered to be local residents; there are no records of nomadic or migratory behavior (Madge and McGowan, 2002). (Johnsgard, 1991; Madge and McGowan, 2002)

Home Range

We do not have information on home range for this species at this time.

Communication and Perception

Little is known about the social behavior of these buttonquail. There are no known records or data on vocalizations. (Johnsgard, 1991)

Food Habits

Spotted buttonquail forage in grassy areas at the edge of forests and on dirt roads in forests. There are no known records of what spotted buttonquail eat. Other buttonquail are omnivorous, eating mainly seeds, some grasses, and insects and their larvae. (Madge and McGowan, 2002)


We do not have information on predation for this species at this time.

Ecosystem Roles

We do not have information on ecosystem roles for this species at this time.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Spotted buttonquail have been captured and eaten by humans. (Madge and McGowan, 2002)

  • Positive Impacts
  • food

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse affects of spotted buttonquail on humans.

Conservation Status

These buttonquail are rarely seen. They may be common throughout their range since they are known locally and are tolerant of living in close proximity to humans. (Madge and McGowan, 2002)

Other Comments

There is one recognized subspecies of Turnix ocellatus, T. o. benguetensis. (Madge and McGowan, 2002)


Alaine Camfield (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Janice Pappas (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



uses sound to communicate


living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


having the capacity to move from one place to another.


This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

World Map


reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.


Referring to a mating system in which a female mates with several males during one breeding season (compare polygynous).

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


remains in the same area


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


uses sight to communicate


Delacour, J., E. Mayr. 1946. Birds of the Philippines. New York: The Macmillan Co.

Finn, F. 1911. Game Birds of India and Asia. Calcutta: Thacker, Spink & Co.

Johnsgard, P. 1991. Bustards, Hemipodes, and Sandgrouse: Birds of Dry Places. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Madge, S., P. McGowan. 2002. Pheasants, Partridges and Grouse: A Guide to the Pheasants, Partridges, Quails, Grouse, Guineafowl, Buttonquails and Sandgrouse of the World. London: Christopher Helm.

Ogilvie-Grant, W. 1889. On the genus Turnix. Ibis (6th Series): 446-475.