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Hottentot Buttonquail - BirdForum Opus

Turnix hottentottus


Length 14-16 cm.
Hottentot Buttonquail has yellow legs and black spots (female) or barring (male) on the neck, breast and belly. Female has bright orange-rufous on side of head and throat areas. The dark back is not as clearly defined as in Black-rumped Buttonquail.

Similar Species

Larger than Small Buttonquail.


Africa: South Africa (south-western Cape Province to Port Elizabeth)


This is a monotypic species[1].

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


Moist grassland and fynbos, both coastal (winter only?) and higher elevation. Prefers relatively sparse and low (<1 m) vegetation.


A skulking species, found singly, in pairs, or in loose groups. Difficult to flush, preferring to run through grass when disturbed. Creeps slowly through grass when undisturbed.


Possibly polyandrous. The nest is a thinly lined scrape in the ground, well concealed in grass 25-50 cm long. Two to four eggs are laid and incubated for 12-14 days by the male.


Eats invertebrates and seeds.


Call: A booming ooooop-ooooop.


  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. Debus, S. and G. M. Kirwan (2020). Hottentot Buttonquail (Turnix hottentottus), 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.hotbut1.01
  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., P.A.R. Hockey, W. Tarboton (2002). Birds of South Africa. Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford. ISBN 0-691-09682-1
  6. Sinclair I & Ryan P. 2003. Birds of Africa south of the Sahara. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0620207299

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