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Little Button-quail

(Turnix velox)
Alternate name(s): "Little Quail", "Butterfly Quail*", "Dotterel Quail", "Swift-flying Quail"
Aboriginal name(s): "kooradong" (WA)

Size: 12-14 cm (male), 14-16 cm (female)
Weight: 28-44 g (male), 39-68 g (female)


Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Little Button-quail at Wikipedia .

Click here for classification information

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range


Click here for sighting information




Lateral view of a male Little Button-quail (photo courtesy of M. Fleming)
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, October 2020]

Near-dorsal view of a male Little Button-quail (photo courtesy of M. Fleming)
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, October 2020]


Little Button-quails are mostly nocturnal birds.

Roost(?) on the ground with scats on opposite sides - this is probably where a pair of Little Button-quails usually rest
(photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Near Thargomindah, QLD, June 2020]


For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

There are many fundamental differences between true quails (Coturnix) and button-quails (Turnix) (see above in the "Taxonomy, classification" section). One other is that, while in most bird species males "advertise" (i.e. call for a partner) and declare their territory, in the case of button-quails this is done by the females.

litbqul_20211102.m4a (NW NSW) Contact calls © MD
litbqul_20201207.m4a (NW NSW) Contact calls © MD
litbqul_20201209.m4a (NW NSW) Contact calls © MD
litbqul_20211102_2.m4a (NW NSW) Contact calls (Q&A) © MD
litbqul_20211102_4.m4a (NW NSW) Contact calls (Q&A) © MD
litbqul_20210124.m4a (NW NSW) Contact calls, several birds (+ frogs) © MD
litbqul_20210117_3.m4a (NW NSW) Contact calls, several birds (+ crickets) © MD
litbqul_20210117_3_NR.m4a (NW NSW) Contact calls, several birds (without bkgd) © MD
litbqul_20230214.mp3 (NW NSW) Contact calls + "drumming" calls (Q&A) © MD

More Little Button-quail sound recordings are available at .

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

Would you like to contribute photos or sound recordings to this site?
If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.