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Black-rumped Buttonquail - BirdForum Opus

Turnix nanus


Length 14-16 cm, female > male.
It has a ginger face and throat. The pale belly is unmarked and the dark back and rump contrast with paler wings in flight. The legs are a pale flesh colour while eyes are pale blue to white. Face and throat is more gingery and less marked in female, with male overall less bright.

Similar species

Black-rumped Buttonquail is larger and more richly coloured than Small Buttonquail. Hottentot Buttonquail has less constrasting rump and uppertail, has spots or barring from middle breast to belly, yellow legs and pale yellow eyes.


Africa south of the Sahara: from Kenya west to Uganda and Nigeria (but has been occasionally found further west) and from there south to Angola and eastern South Africa.


This is a monotypic species[1].

Black-rumped Buttonquail and Hottentot Buttonquail were until recently considered one species.


Most common in areas with low grass though can occur in shrub or edges of taller vegetation. Found from sea level to 1800 m asl.


Partly migratory with movements poorly understood, but in most areas more likely encountered during wet season. Most often encountered singly on in a pair.

Feeds on the ground, likely on grass and other seeds as well as invertebrates. It is more likely to stay on the ground and try to run away from danger than to flush.


Calls during breeding season described as "boom-boom" or "oooop-oooop" given as series that are fast and low pitch. Calls seems to be given during breeding attempts only and may only be given for a few weeks.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. del Hoyo, J., N. Collar, and G. M. Kirwan (2020). Black-rumped Buttonquail (Turnix nanus), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.hotbut3.01
  3. Sibley CG & Monroe BL. 1996. Birds of the World, on diskette, Windows version 2.0. Charles G. Sibley, Santa Rosa, CA, USA.
  4. Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ & Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Robert's Birds of Southern Africa, 7th edition. John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town, South Africa. ISBN 0620340533
  5. Sinclair I & Ryan P. 2003. Birds of Africa south of the Sahara. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0620207299

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