Family Buttonquails (Turnicidae)


Hottentot Buttonquail (Turnix hottentottus)


French: Turnix hottentot German: Hottentottenlaufhühnchen Spanish: Torillo hotentote
Other common names: Black-rumped Buttonquail (when lumped with T. nanus)

Turnix hottentottus


, 1815,

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa


Often considered conspecific with T. nanus. Monotypic.


Mountains of S South Africa, in winter-rainfall area from SW & S Western Cape to Port Elizabeth (S Eastern Cape).

Descriptive notes

14–16 cm. Small, rather dark Turnix with slender bill and orange-rufous face and breast; prominent barring on sides of breast and spotting on flanks; pale... read more


No known differences in female song between this species and formerly conspecific T. nanus... read more


Prefers low (Protea lorifolia... read more

Food and feeding

Few specific data available. Seeds of grasses and weeds; invertebrates including insects and their larvae. Food taken on ground. Usually... read more


Recorded laying in Sept–Feb. Solitary breeder; females possibly polyandrous. Nest is shallow scrape (50–75 mm wide and 20 mm... read more


Resident and sedentary.

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. Very poorly known and restricted in range (33,300 km²); uncommon and local, with last definite breeding record in 1968. Overall population estimated at fewer... read more

Recommended citation

Debus, S. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Hottentot Buttonquail (Turnix hottentottus). 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 6 April 2020).