Chestnut backed Button Quail
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. chestnut backed button quail
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  • An Australian Quail
  • Scientific Name:  Turnix castanota
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin:  None
  • Origin / Distribution:  Northern Territory
  • Habitat In Wild:  Dry open woodlands and surrounding areas.
  • Status In Wild:  Not common.  Subject to predation from introduced feral animals.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Rare
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  ?
  • Adult plumage: attained at about ? months
  • Best breeding years (estimate):  6 months to about 3rd year
  • Sexing:  Monomorphic / Dimorphic  Females generally bigger and have duller plumage.
  • Colour mutations:  No
  • Availability:  Specialist breeders
  • Temperament:  During the non breeding season they can be found in groups of 6 - 20.  May utter a "call" at night during the breeding season.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $600
  • Description Of Adults:  Hens are generally larger and heavier than cock birds
  1. Length: Approx. 160 - 180 mm (or approx 7 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. - gms (or approx. - ozs)

Aviary Notes:

Level Of Knowledge Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / Specialist Breeders Only.

Government Regulations & By-Laws:  Refer to "Government Laws" page.

Housing Requirements:  Click on "Quail" web page for general details on the housing of quail or read on for specific details for this bird.

Compatible with most finches, small parrots, doves and pigeons. Best breeding results are with one pair per aviary.  Likes to have low growing shrubs with leaf litter and growing tall grasses or cereal grains (eg. wheat) will help this species feel happy and secure.  These birds tend to do a lot of floor scratching so a generous layer of leaf litter is appreciated and will keep them active and healthy.  These birds like to scratch or dig "holes" in the earthen floors and these craters are called platelets.  Care must be taken to ensure these quail have not scratched the soil and/or floor litter into the food or water bowls.

This species should be the only ground dwelling bird in the aviary.  Problems can occur with finches etc. that spend a lot of time at floor level or use the floor space as their courtship, or mating site.

If these quail are startled they tend to fly off the floor at a steep angle and often hit the roof at a solid speed.  This can cause severe head injuries or at worst the death of the quail.  Wing feather clipping can minimize this potential problem.  Wing feather clipping also minimizes the risk of the quail flying into or onto the finch nesting sites and disturbing the nesting or roosting finches and/or small parrots.

Quail that are noisy, especially during the night or in the early morning, should be housed in an aviary most distant away from neighbours.

Diet / Feeding:  Click on "Quail" web page for general details on the nutrition of quail or read on for specific details for this bird.

In the wild, the diet includes seeds from grasses and herbaceous plants, assorted vegetable matter and a variety of insects.

In the aviary, a basic finch/quail seed mix plus a variety of insects is required.  Offer vegetable green foods and seeding grasses as per "Quail" web page.  May eat some of the commercial poultry pellets or commercial quail pellets.  Mealworms, small crickets, small locusts, small cockroaches and most insects found in suburban gardens can be offered.  Adequate supply of insects is essential at breeding time.

Nesting:  A basic overview only.

  • Nesting months: December to May
  • Nesting receptacles: Made on the ground.  Usually a shallow depression in the ground and surrounding grasses may be pulled down to form a dome cover over the nest.
  • Nest: Often lined with soft grasses and soft plant material.
  • Who incubates the eggs: Hen / Cock / both share.

Breeding:  Egg Colour White, sometimes with light brown speckles.  Clutch/s per year...... Eggs per nest  4.  Incubation approx. 14 - 15 days.  Fledge approx. ? days/weeks.  Independent approx. another ? days/weeks.

Cock bird incubates the eggs and cares for the young.

Nest on the ground as per other quail species.

Artificial incubation, hand rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site.  It is too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.  Refer "Specific References" as listed below and "General References" listings.

Health Issues:  Refer "Avian Health Issues" web page for information and references.

  • Worming and parasite control and Quarantine requirements of new birds or sick birds are considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on this web site.  Refer above "Avian Health Issues" web page option.
  • Avian medicine is advancing at a rapid pace.  Keep updating your knowledge and skills.

General References:  Refer to references listed on "Book References" web page.

Specific References:

  • Australian Aviculture

  • Australian Birdkeeper

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