Family Buttonquails (Turnicidae)

Least Concern

Quail-plover (Ortyxelos meiffrenii)


French: Turnix à ailes blanches German: Lerchenlaufhühnchen Spanish: Torillo alaudino
Other common names: Lark Buttonquail

Turnix Meiffrenii


, 1819,





Tropical Africa from S Mauritania and Senegal E to N Cameroon, S Chad and Sudan, and discontinuously through S Ethiopia, NE Uganda, N & SE Kenya and NE Tanzania; breeds in S Ghana and possibly elsewhere in W Africa.

Descriptive notes

10–13 cm; male 15·7–19·5 g; ­female larger. Distinctive, tiny, courser-like buttonquail, with longer wings and tail than Turnix; shows... read more


Apparently silent when flushed; otherwise a very soft, low whistle given from ground has been... read more


Arid to semi-arid and coastal grassland; also Acacia (Fabaceae) and Chrysopogon (... read more

Food and feeding

Little specific information available. Recorded taking grass seeds and insects, including termites. Terrestrial and at least partially... read more


Little known. Egg-laying Sept–Mar, in cool dry season, but bird in breeding condition in SE Kenya in Apr. Solitary breeder; possibly... read more


Poorly understood. Resident in some areas, elsewhere intra-African migrant, with some birds... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Uncommon to locally common (e.g. three pairs along 3 km stretch of road in SE Kenya); expanding range in some parts, and possibly... read more

Recommended citation

Debus, S. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Quail-plover (Ortyxelos meiffrenii). 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 September 2019).