Red-backed Button-quail in Sydney

To: "'Dion Hobcroft'" <>, <>
Subject: Red-backed Button-quail in Sydney
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Fri, 3 Feb 2006 22:06:20 +1100

Very interested to hear of Dion’s sighting on the Red-backed Button-quail in the same paddock I saw 3 a few years ago. I saw them one August (can’t remember the date from top of my head but have it recorded somewhere. I think it was either 1997/98) with 25 King Quail and many Brown (100 plus) and 20-30 Stubble Quails at the time. It really shows that these paddocks can be very good for quail/ button-quail but I must admit I check them very irregularly (probably no more than half a dozen times in the last 5 years) so these birds are probably much more common than the recent sightings suggest!?!


Would the Red-backed Button-quail be more of a local but rare resident? The previous sighting of this birds that I know of was at McGraths Hill a few years ago. Ern Hoskin’s book “The Birds of Sydney”,  mentions sightings in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs (around La Perouse) and I wonder if any are still there. I have seen some museums skins of birds that were collected from Malabar/Maroubra area.


Edwin Vella


-----Original Message-----
From: [ On Behalf Of Dion Hobcroft
Friday, 3 February 2006 6:08 PM
Subject: [BIRDING-AUS] Red-backed Button-quail at
Cornwallis Road, Richmond, Sydney


Today I visited Cuppitt’s Lane off Cornwallis Road, Richmond walking through the weedy fields looking for quail. The first bird I flushed was a stunning female Red-backed Button-quail complete with yellow bill, red back, intense red underparts with spots on the flanks and chest and golden leading edge to the wing coverts. A spectacular bird. She gave an excellent close flight view in the bins before she dived into chest high paspalum. I flogged around for a further hour and a half flushing three Stubble Quail and a Brown Quail and heard King Quail very close but no more re-sightings of the button-quail. A few times I could see the grass moving quail like in front of me but nothing flushed. There are numerous Singing Bushlarks, Golden-headed Cisticola and some Chestnut-breasted Mannikins. This follows up on sightings of Red-chested Button-quail in the same site so it is in excellent quail condition. 


Spent a short time at Pitt Town Lagoon seeing two Baillon’s Crakes, heard Spotless and had a great view of a juvenile female Collared Sparrowhawk.


All the best



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