Turnix suscitatorbarred buttonquail

Geographic Range

They range from India to China and Taiwan (Harper 1986). They are also found in the Philippines (Hachisuka 1931, Delacour and Mayr 1946) as well as eastern Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar (Johnsgard 1991).


These button quail inhabit old rice paddy fields and grassy plains (Delacour and Mayr 1946). They are adapted to areas that are dry and sandy with woody vegetation overgrowth or scrub, which these button quail use as cover. They may also be found at 2450 m in the mountains in India, at the edge of forests, grasslands or cinnamon plantations, in bamboo jungles, or in deserted cotton fields (Johnsgard 1991).

Physical Description

They are approximately 15 cm (Harper 1986). Wing measurement for males is 72-85 mm and 77-90 for females. The male's tail length occurs within a narrower range than that for the female. His is 35-37 mm in length, while hers is 33-41 mm long. Tarsus length for the male is 22 or 23 mm, and the female tarsal length occurs in the range of 22-25 mm. Males weigh 35-52 g., averaging 46 g. Females average 60.7 g. and weigh in the range of 47-68 g (Johnsgard 1991).

Males have cream-colored throats, and the females have black throats. Females are more brightly colored than the males (Harper 1986). They are blackish-gray above and mottled with chestnut and scattered whitish streaks. Across the back of the neck is chestnut. The forehead and upper throat are black, while the sides of the head oare black with mottled whitish markings. The lower throat is white, and a narrow chestnut collar is sometimes present. There are definite bars evident on the the breast which are not present in immature birds (Delacour and Mayr 1946). These quail do not have a hind toe.

  • Range mass
    35 to 68 g
    1.23 to 2.40 oz


The female is a prolific layer. She will lay usually four eggs at a time, moving from male to male. Each egg may weigh from 4.6 to 7.1 g. Incubation period is approximately thirteen days. The chicks are precocial in nature and mature in 40 days (Johnsgard 1991).

The breeding season may occur throughout the year, or there may be two nesting cycles per year. Bamboo jungles are preferred breeding habitat, and the nest consists of fine grasses that may be in a hollowed-out area under the cover of scrub or grass or hidden in thick grassy fields. Both male and female will engage in nest building. Males will incubate eggs in this dome-shaped nest that is hidden close to the ground. In captivity, females will care for the young, including feeding the chicks (Johnsgard 1991).

  • Range eggs per season
    4 (low)
  • Average time to hatching
    13 days


This button quail is considered to be sedentary or locally nomadic. They occur singly or in small groups (Johnsgard 1991).

Females will become aggressive toward each other. When in breeding condition, females will utter loud purring calls increasing in frequency to attract males as well as deter rival females (Harper 1986). This advertisement call to attract males also serves as a territorial call to other females (Johnsgard 1991). In general, the female's call has been described as something between a coo and a soft, booming purr (Delacour and Mayr 1946). She will stretch her neck and lower her head to utter the call, sometimes with her breast touching the ground (Johnsgard 1991).

The female may also produce a courtship display by swaying her body forward and backward. She will chase the male, alternating with a walk and a run. She may catch the male and pull his tail. If he gets free, she resumes the chase. She may then roost with the male of her choice. Polyandry is common in this species of button quail (Johnsgard 1991).

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

These quail will eat various grass seeds, including millet, fresh greens, and small invertebrates. They may also consume insects and a bit of green vegetation (Johnsgard 1991). (Johnsgard, 1991)

  • Animal Foods
  • insects
  • Plant Foods
  • leaves
  • seeds, grains, and nuts

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

This button quail has been bred in captivity and may be found in aviaries.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

This button quail is not known to adversely affect humans.

Conservation Status

This button quail is highly adaptable to living in close proximity to humans and benefiting from cultivation practices. Therefore, populations are considered to be stable and sustainable (Johnsgard 1991).

Other Comments

A number of species described in very early accounts have been determined to be races of Turnix suscitator. Turnix fasciata occurs in the Philippines (Palawan, Mindoro, Luzon, Masbate, Sibuyan, and panay) as does T. nigrescens (Negros, Cebu) (Hachisuka 1931, Delacour and Mayr 1946). The latter race has a more blackish rump (Delacour and Mayr 1946). Turnix pugnax and T. rufilatus (Finn 1911) are also two of the Philippine Button Quails. Other taxa considered to be insular subspecies of Turnix suscitator are T. s. taigoor, T. s. leggei, T. s. plumbipes, T. s. bengalensis, T. s. blakistoni, T. s. interrumpens, T. s. pallescens, T. s. thai, T. s. atrogularis, T. s. machetes, T. s. kuiperi, T. s. baweanus, T. s. powelli, T. s. rostrata, and T. s. okinavensis (Johnsgard 1991).


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



uses sound to communicate

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.


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.

native range

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


an animal that mainly eats all kinds of things, including plants and animals


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.


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


uses touch to communicate

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

young precocial

young are relatively well-developed when born


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..

Hachisuka, M. 1931. The Birds of the Philippine Islands. London: H. F. & G. Witherby.

Harper, D. 1986. Pet Birds for Home and Garden. London: Salamander Books Ltd..

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