Help with Button-quail Identification please

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Help with Button-quail Identification please
From: Carl Billingham <>
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2007 20:09:35 -0700 (PDT)
I am a bit concerned considering the length of my previous trip reports that my 
Button-quail questions might be overlooked, so here they are again:

I stopped off to check out Stuart Pell's site for Little Button-quail approx 
30km from Cunnamulla at S28 01.734 E145 57.551 on the 17/06/07.  I was 
successful at flushing at least a half dozen Little Bq (some of them 
A couple of Bq really confused me however as they seemed to show a rufous 
ventral 'stripe' underneath as they flew away.  I did not notice any variation 
in colour on the tops of the wings, nor the white flanks I have noticed with my 
previous sighting of Little Bq.  I wonder if I was seeing Red-chested 
Button-quail instead of LBq.  I haven't had a definite sighting of the RcBq yet 
so I would appreciate assistance on this one.   Any ideas any one?

The next day at Coopers Crossing, SWQld I managed to flush in half an hour 
about a dozen Little Button-quail, which appeared to use the deep dried out 
cattle hoof prints to hide in which meant they didn't flush sometimes until I 
was nearly standing on them - most disconcerting!  Some flew off with a few 
squeaks, showed the distinctive white flanks, rufous coverts contrasting with 
the darker flight feathers and appeared smaller than the mystery Bq I had 
noticed the previous day east of Cunnamulla. 

On my previous trip out to Coopers Crossing in April I had a similar 
Unidentified Button-quail:

While we were there we came across a BQ at close range that remained stationary 
for a while before wandering off.  We couldn't positively identify it because 
it didn't appear to exactly resemble the illustrations in any of our guide 
books.  We both felt it was probably a Red-chested BQ but because we were 
disturbing Little BQ all around us (~20-30) neither of us was willing to make 
the call.  It appeared to have bright rufous around the face, ear coverts, 
possibly a collar, which appeared to extend down the sides of the breast.  It 
was still pale underneath and the boundaries to the rufous areas were patchy.  
Both my mate and I have been scratching our heads since as to what we saw.  The 
vegetation in the area was lignum and grasses.  

I wish I had thought to check out the eye colour on the Bq at Coopers Crossing 
- wise in hind-sight.   Are Bq like the illustrations in the field guides or 
are the rufous areas less uniform (a bit like the crimson on the Crimson 
Finches I have seen in FNQ and NT).

Anybody got any ideas on either of these?


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