Family Buttonquails (Turnicidae)

Least Concern

Madagascar Buttonquail (Turnix nigricollis)


French: Turnix de Madagascar German: Schwarzkehl-Laufhühnchen Spanish: Torillo malgache

Tetrao nigricollis

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,





Madagascar; also Reunion, Mauritius (introduced; now extinct#R) and, on W side of Madagascar, Glorieuses Is and Juan de Nova (possibly introduced to some or all of these, although no certain evidence#R).

Descriptive notes

13–16 cm; male 60–72 g, female 59–84 g; female larger. Smallish, typically short-winged and short-tailed Turnix with blackish forehead, principally... read more


Considered to be relatively silent, but female advertising call is a deep, very low-pitched humming... read more


Typically found in grassland, crops (especially cassava), grassy savanna with palms, closed-canopy... read more

Food and feeding

Recorded as taking seeds and insects (including many beetles, gastropods, cockroaches, flies, true bugs, termite and Lepidoptera larvae).... read more


Late Aug–Feb in Madagascar, but downy young reported as late as early Apr and as early as second week of Sept; reportedly breeds year... read more


No specific information available, but apparently sedentary. Perhaps locally dispersive, if... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common in N, W & S Madagascar, e.g. around Toliara, Zombitse and Ampijoroa, less so in E and on High Plateau; known from several... read more

Recommended citation

Debus, S. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Madagascar Buttonquail (Turnix nigricollis). 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 16 July 2019).