Family Buttonquails (Turnicidae)

Least Concern

Painted Buttonquail (Turnix varius)


French: Turnix bariolé German: Buntlaufhühnchen Spanish: Torillo pintojo

Perdix varia


, 1801,

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Closely related to T. olivii and T. castanotus. Proposed races stirlingi (SW Australia) and subminutus (NE Australia) no longer recognized, as based on individual rather than geographical variation. Until recently, considered conspecific with T. novaecaledoniae. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. v. scintillans (Gould, 1845) – Houtman Abrolhos Is (SW Australia).
  • T. v. varius (Latham, 1801) – SW, E & SE Australia; Tasmania.
  • Descriptive notes

    17–23 cm; male 53–94 g, female 72–134 g; female larger. Large, rather rufous-brown Turnix with finer bill, pale-spotted forehead and breast, and... read more


    Advertising call (most frequently given at dusk and nocturnally, occasionally by day, in Jun–... read more


    Scrub, grassy Banksia (Proteaceae) and Acacia (Fabaceae) forest and woodland,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Comparatively poorly known. Seeds (grasses, Avena, Fabaceae, Trifolium, Erodium, Acacia), fruits (... read more


    Season Aug–Mar in S, extending to May in E; all months according to local conditions in tropical N of range. Solitary breeder;... read more


    Poorly understood. Mostly resident, though with high turnover of individuals and some local... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally uncommon to locally common; declining in S, particularly Tasmania where now rare, but also less common than formerly in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Debus, S., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Painted Buttonquail (Turnix varius). 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 22 January 2020).