Family Buttonquails (Turnicidae)

Least Concern

Barred Buttonquail (Turnix suscitator)


French: Turnix combattant German: Bindenlaufhühnchen Spanish: Torillo batallador

Tetrao Suscitator

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,



Race powelli has on occasion been considered sufficiently distinct to merit separate species status, and is undoubtedly the most distinctive subspecies. Race interrumpens doubtfully distinct from atrogularis, and often included in latter; validity of race baweanus sometimes questioned owing to similarity to Javan nominate. Birds of Sumatran zone sometimes receive different subspecific designations: those of N Sumatra have been placed in race atrogularis, those of C Sumatra have been awarded separate race, machetes, and those of Belitung I sometimes awarded separate race, kuiperi; no clear patterns of geographical variation, however, and all three populations probably best retained in nominate suscitator. Eighteen subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. s. taigoor (Sykes, 1832) – C & S India S from W Gujarat and Bihar (except West Bengal).
  • T. s. bengalensis Blyth, 1852 – lower West Bengal (India).
  • T. s. plumbipes (Hodgson, 1837) – Nepal, Sikkim, Bangladesh and Assam E to NW Myanmar.
  • T. s. leggei E. C. S. Baker, 1920 – Sri Lanka.
  • T. s. okinavensis A. R. Phillips, 1947 – Ryukyu Is.
  • T. s. rostratus Swinhoe, 1865 – Taiwan.
  • T. s. blakistoni (Swinhoe, 1871) – Myanmar and N Vietnam to S China and Hainan I.
  • T. s. pallescens Robinson & E. C. S. Baker, 1928 – C & S Myanmar.
  • T. s. thai Deignan, 1946 – NW & C Thailand E to Vietnam and Cambodia.
  • T. s. interrumpens Robinson & E. C. S. Baker, 1928 – peninsular Myanmar and S Thailand.
  • T. s. atrogularis (Eyton, 1839) – Malay Peninsula.
  • T. s. suscitator (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – Barred Buttonquail – Sumatra, Belitung I and Bangka I to Java and Bali.
  • T. s. baweanus Hoogerwerf, 1962 – Bawean I (N of E Java).
  • T. s. fasciatus (Temminck, 1815) – Luzon S to Mindoro, Sibuyan and Masbate (N Philippines).
  • T. s. haynaldi A. W. H. Blasius, 1888 – Palawan and Calamian Group (W Philippines).
  • T. s. nigrescens Tweeddale, 1878 – Panay, Guimaras, Negros and Cebu (C Philippines).
  • T. s. rufilatus Wallace, 1865 – Sulawesi.
  • T. s. powelli Guillemard, 1885 – Dusky Buttonquail – Lombok, Sumbawa, Sangeang, Flores, Solor, Lembata and Alor (W & C Lesser Sundas).
  • Descriptive notes

    13·5–17·5 cm; male 35–52 g, female 47–68 g; female larger (by mean 9% in Peninsular Malaysia). Most widespread buttonquail in SE Asia. Fairly... read more


    Female advertising call (often given nocturnally) in India and Sri Lanka likened to sound of a... read more


    Grassland (mainly Imperata in peninsular Malaysia), crops (including sugarcane, coffee and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Grass and weed seeds, invertebrates and green shoots. Terrestrial; forages among grass and leaf-litter, where makes circular scrapes in... read more


    Laying recorded in all months, but with local peaks (e.g. Apr–May in Japan) according to seasonal conditions and possible gaps at... read more


    Poorly known. Apparently resident in most areas, but some continental populations may be locally... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Appears to be widespread and common in India, Sri Lanka, Japan (where range is restricted) and most parts of SE Asian range, so far... read more

    Recommended citation

    Debus, S. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Barred Buttonquail (Turnix suscitator). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 July 2019).