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

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. red backed button quail
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  • An Australian Quail
  • Scientific Name:  Turnix maculosa
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin:  ?... possibly 2
  • Origin / Distribution:  Top of Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and down the east coast to top of Victoria.  (Also inhabits countries north of Australia.)
  • Habitat In Wild:  Diverse, with a preference for areas with long grasses suitable for a nest site.  Has adapted to include farmlands and pasture crops in its range. 
  • Status In Wild:  Reasonable numbers still exist, but numbers are subject to the preservation of suitable habitat. 
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Secure, but not common.
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  About 4 - 5 months.
  • Adult plumage: attained at about 4 months
  • Best breeding years (estimate):  6 months to about 3rd year  
  • Sexing:  Monomorphic / Dimorphic. Easier to sex during the non-breeding season.
  • Colour mutations:  None
  • Availability:  Bird dealers and specialist breeders.
  • Temperament:  Prefer a densely planted aviary and one pair per aviary.  Generally less flighty than other button quail.  Clipping of wing flights is less necessary than for other button quail.  Suitable for inclusion with finches and small parrots.  Hatchlings can get through 13mm (half inch) aviary wire netting.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx) $500
  • Description Of Adults: Hens larger than cock birds and have a brighter coloured plumage. Smallest of the Button quail.
  1. Length: Approx. 140 - 150 mm (or approx 6 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx.  40 - 50 gms (or approx 1.5 ozs)
Aviary Notes:

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

Government Regulations & By-LawsRefer to " Government Laws " web page.

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

Usually a less nervous species than the other Button quail.  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.  Due to its more docile nature, other ground dwelling non quail species may be successfully housed with this species.

Diet / Feeding:  Refer to " Quail " web page for general details on the feeding of Quail or read on for specific details for this bird.

Good quality finch or small parrot mix plus insects and vegetable green foods and seeding grasses as per "Quail" web page.  May eat some of the commercial poultry pellets.  Adequate supply of insects is essential at breeding time.


  • Nesting months:  May breed year round.  Seasons spring to autumn are generally the most productive.
  • Nest location:  On the floor in a nest usually at the back of the aviary in a secluded spot.
  • Nest material:  They may build a substantial nest of dry grasses and other materials and lined with soft materials.
  • Who incubates the egg/s: Hen / Cock / both share.

Breeding: Egg Colour Greyish white with fine coloured spots.  Clutch/s per year.. multiple.  Eggs per nest  3 - 5.  Incubation approx. 14 days.  Independent approx  3 - 4 weeks.

Compatible with most finches, small parrots, doves and pigeons. Best breeding results are with one pair per aviary.  Once the hen has laid a full clutch many aviculturalists will remove the hen so the cock bird is not distracted from his duty of incubating the eggs and raising the young.  When the babies hatch the cock bird supplies food from his beak directly into the babies beak.  Generally the hen does not get involved in the feeding and raising of the young.  The young will start to feed themselves at the end of the first week.  The cock bird will offer the young food till they become independent at the about the 3rd or 4th week.  The removal of the hen for this species is less critical than for the other Button quail.  Some hens may get involved in the incubation and raising of the young without any detrimental effects.

Adequate supply of insects is essential at breeding time.

Artificial incubation and hand rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site.  It is too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.

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

  • Worming and parasite control and Quarantine requirements of new bird/s or sick bird/s are considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on this web site.  Refer "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
  • A/A Vol 19 No 8 Aug 1965 Page 105-106.
  • A/A Vol 19 No 3 Mar 1965 Page 48-50.
  • A/A Vol 11 No 6 Jun 1957 Page 80, 92.
  • Australian Birdkeeper

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