On my return from searching for Grey Falcons, I stopped at the Terrick Terrick
NP near Mitiamo. Saw the usual array of beautiful woodland birds, including
numerous Red-capped Robin, Diamond Firetail and Hooded Robin.
However just as I was leaving the main park entrance on the south end of the
park, I saw a covey of 8 quail cross the track 15-20 metres ahead of me. I
caught a glimpse of the last bird as it ran into the grass, and knew it was not
Painted Button-quail, of which I had just seen a pair about an hour earlier, and
it did not look as 'striped' as a Stubble Quail. I parked and stalked the
birds, and was easily able to locate then track them as they moved through
longish (knee-height) grass. The tops of the grass was moving as they walked
through. Occasionally, they would pass through more open areas of shorter grass
and bare ground, where I was able to get great views and conclude that they were
most positively Brown Quail - the first I have seen in the Terricks. They even
crossed back across the track, running frantically. They seemed very reluctant
to fly and this was the best view I have ever had of Brown Quail.
I have seen Brown Quail previously in swampy River Red Gum areas along the
Murray (ie. Gunbower Island and Lower Ovens Regional Park), and recently, Mike
Carter and Geoff Walker saw a bird at Edithvale Wetlands (Melbourne). The Field
Guides and the Vic. bird atlas say that they use wet woodlands and forests,
usually adjacent rivers and swamps, but the habitat in Terrick NP is very dry
cypress pine/eucalypt woodland, surrounded by dry stubble crops. Perhaps the
birds were moving between wetter areas, or maybe they seek drier habitats at
this wetter time of year.
For those interested in the identification of Brown Quail (vs. Stubble Quail)
(there was some recent discussion on this topic), I find the pictures in Pizzey
and Knight's Field Guide to be far superior and give a life-like impression of
what the birds actually looked like (but if anything, they were darker still).
Birding-Aus is on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message
"unsubscribe birding-aus" (no quotes, no Subject line)