Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Painted Button-quail visits my garden

This bird must have been reading my Blog, over the last two days.
I was on the phone, talking with my brother, Brendan, when I saw a bird moving on the ground just outside my window. 

This is all I could see.
A small, "quail-like" bird moving around on the ground.
If you spot the eye first, you can then just make out the bird's shape.

At first I assumed it was a female Bowerbird. Then I looked more closely, and realise it was a "Quail" (see clarifying comment below).
Sensibly, Brendan told me to hang up the phone, grab my camera and then ring him back (in order).
Good plan.
Once I had taken the first shot, and expanded it on my camera 
I realised what I had photographed. 
This is the "cropped" version of the same image.
Painted Button-quail in my garden
The last species of "Quail" I was expecting in my own garden, between my Camellias, and under the Dogwood tree, was a Painted Button-quail (even though I had previously found a dead one down on Tourist Road, Kangaloon). But that's sandstone scrub habitat. Normal habitat for the species (Robertson is not!)

I had first thought Brown Quail, but realised it was too strongly marked for that. 
What about a Stubble Quail? They have fairly strong markings.  

Hang on - there a definite tinge of orange around the "shoulders" of this bird.
Orange tonings on neck and wings become apparent, as the bird walks around.
 Its a Female Painted Button-quail.
(as has been discussed recently, they are NOT true Quails).
As she moves into the sunlight, the ID is confirmed.
Painted Button-quails are well known for forming "platelets" - little round clearings on the ground.
The Flickr image (linked here) comments that: "Button-quail search for insects by standing on one leg and scratching away the leaf litter while rotating their body in a circle. This leaves a distinctive circular cleared area in the leaf litter." 

That's exactly what this bird was doing in my yard this morning. 
 It was walking around in a circle, scratching away the dead grass.
That leaves the cleared circular area
making it easy for it to
find insects.

Painted Button-quail formed this "platelet" in my garden
Today (Thursday) - my little friend was back, scratching away, busily, doing "circles" and clearing more of these "platelets". DJW 22 Sept 2011


mick said...

What a great sighting for your garden. It must be good habitat for birds.

Flabmeister said...

A GOOD garden bird. When we first moved here one lived under the chook shed for a time. It emerged to be seen by a visiting COG outing and then disappeared. This year a covey (if that is the right collective noun for not-quails) have appeared near the top of our block.


Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Mick and Martin
Yes, I was very pleased to "tick" this one. The more so for its unexpectedness.
Martin, your bird was very co-operative to trot itself out for a group of visitors, as if "on demand".
My sighting was purely random, yet it fitted with the Blog timetable perfectly.