Buttonquails Of Vietnam – Turnicidae
Turnicidae, commonly known as buttonquails, are a family of small ground-dwelling birds found in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. These birds are characterized by their short bills, compact bodies, and strong legs, which allow them to run and fly short distances. In Vietnam, buttonquails can be found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, scrublands, and forest clearings. In this article, we will explore the different species of buttonquails found in Vietnam, their habitats, behaviors, and conservation status.
There are three species buttonquails of Vietnam: the Small Buttonquail (Turnix sylvaticus), Barred Buttonquail (Turnix suscitator), and Yellow-legged Buttonquail (Turnix tanki).
The Small Buttonquail is the smallest of the three species, measuring only 11-12 cm in length. It is found in grasslands and scrublands, and is easily identified by its dark brown upperparts and buff underparts.
The Barred Buttonquail is slightly larger, measuring 15-16 cm in length, and is found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, scrublands, and forest clearings. It is characterized by its barred plumage and the distinctive white patch on its forehead.
The Yellow-legged Buttonquail is the largest of the three species, measuring 18-19 cm in length. It is found in grasslands and scrublands, and is easily identified by its yellow legs and bill.
Buttonquails are found in a variety of habitats in Vietnam, including grasslands, scrublands, and forest clearings. The Small Buttonquail is most commonly found in open grasslands and scrublands, while the Barred Buttonquail is found in a wider variety of habitats, including forest edges and cultivated areas. The Yellow-legged Buttonquail is found in grasslands and scrublands, and is often associated with areas of human habitation, such as rice paddies.
Buttonquails are primarily ground-dwelling birds, spending most of their time foraging for seeds, insects, and small invertebrates on the ground. They are also capable of short bursts of flight, which they use to escape predators or to move to new feeding areas. Buttonquails are generally solitary birds, although they may form pairs during the breeding season. They are also known for their distinctive vocalizations, which vary between species and are often used for territorial defense or courtship.
In most bird species, the female is responsible for incubating the eggs and caring for the young, while the male is responsible for defending the territory and providing food for the family. However, the breeding strategy of buttonquails is quite different.
In buttonquail species, the roles of males and females are reversed. Males incubate the eggs and take care of the young, while the females focus on finding and competing for multiple mates. This system is known as male parental care and is relatively rare in birds.
The breeding season for buttonquails in Vietnam varies depending on the species and location. In the northern regions of Vietnam, breeding takes place from April to August, while in the south, it can occur from January to October.
Buttonquails are solitary birds that form monogamous pairs during the breeding season. The female will mate with multiple males, and each male will incubate and care for a clutch of eggs. The number of clutches that a female will lay during the breeding season depends on the availability of males and resources.
The nests of buttonquails are shallow scrapes in the ground, which the males create and line with grass and other vegetation. Females lay between two and six eggs in each clutch, and the males incubate the eggs for around 16 to 18 days.
Once the eggs hatch, the male will care for the chicks and teach them to forage for food. In some species, the chicks are independent after just a few days, while in others, the male will continue to care for them for several weeks.
In some species, the male buttonquail is also responsible for defending the territory against other males and predators. They will use a variety of displays and calls to attract females and warn off other males, and will even fight if necessary
Buttonquails are generally considered to be of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), although some species may be locally threatened by habitat loss or degradation. In Vietnam, the Barred Buttonquail is listed as near threatened due to habitat loss and fragmentation, while the Small Buttonquail and Yellow-legged Buttonquail are both considered to be of least concern.
Buttonquails are an important and fascinating group of birds found in Vietnam. Their small size and cryptic plumage make them a challenge to spot, but they can be found in a variety of habitats across the country. Despite being generally considered of least concern, some species may be threatened by habitat loss or degradation, highlighting the importance of conservation efforts to protect these and other species of birds in Vietnam. Whether you are a birdwatching enthusiast or simply a nature lover, the buttonquails of Vietnam are an interesting and unique group of birds that are worth seeking out