A Journey into the Enigmatic World of the Yellow-Legged Buttonquail

Birds hold a magical appeal. Their diversity, brilliance, and adaptability have forever fascinated us. In the vibrant spectrum of avian life, the Yellow-legged Buttonquail is a creature of intrigue and charm. Often a resident of a bird sanctuary, the Yellow-legged Buttonquail (Turnix tanki) is a diminutive, ground-dwelling species, brimming with personality and mystique.

Bird Profile

Serial NumberCharacteristicsDescription
1Common nameYellow-legged Buttonquail
2Scientific nameTurnix tanki
3ColourMales: Buff with black crown, reddish-buff breast, and greyish-brown upper body. Females: Richer in colour with reddish-brown neck collar.
4Average length15 to 18 cm (6 to 7 in)
5Average height5 cm (2 in)
6Type of birdGround-dwelling Bird
7Found in India in statesAll over India, predominantly in the dry regions
8HabitatGrasslands, Scrub Jungle
9IUCN StatusNot evaluated

Features of the Bird


The Yellow-legged Buttonquail is a small bird species, with an average length between 15 to 18 cm, rendering it a rather compact bird image name in birding journals. Despite its small size, it carries an air of magnificence that captures the attention of any bird lover. The females are slightly larger than males, a characteristic reversal of the usual size dimorphism found in the birdlife.


Measuring the height of a bird, in a conventional sense, can be tricky, as it mostly refers to the length of a standing bird measured from the head’s highest point to the feet. As for the Yellow-legged Buttonquail, it boasts a relatively shorter stature compared to its length, with an estimated height of around 5 cm. It’s a quirky and endearing trait that makes this bird an interesting subject for bird photos.

Running Speed

Known to be ground-dwelling birds, the Yellow-legged Buttonquail has a running speed that comes in handy for evading threats and searching for food in the bird sanctuary. Though there’s no exact measurement of their running speed, it’s known that they prefer to dash into cover than take to the air.


The plumage of the Yellow-legged Buttonquail is a delightful blend of neutral hues that camouflage perfectly with their chosen habitats. Males exhibit a black crown with a buff margin, a throat of pale buff that darkens to reddish-buff at the edges and on the breast. Females, on the other hand, have a richer colour palette, featuring a broad reddish-brown collar around the neck.

Habitat and Food of the Bird

  1. Yellow-legged Buttonquails are residents of the Indian subcontinent, East Asia, and Southeast Asia, from dry regions of India to the Korea peninsular, and the southernmost parts of southeast Russia.
  1. Their preferred habitat includes warm grasslands or scrub jungle, where they blend seamlessly into their surroundings, much like a perfect bird png.
  1. They avoid thick forest and hilly terrains, favouring more open environments that allow them to run swiftly.
  1. Buttonquails mainly feed on green plant material and seeds. They are also insectivores, with beetles, ants, and grasshoppers constituting a significant part of their diet.
  1. Migration happens in the wet season when they move to drier parts of India, making journeys by night, akin to a silhouette of a bird flying.

Nesting and Nurturing

When it comes to breeding, the Yellow-legged Buttonquail exhibits an interesting role reversal. The female initiates courtship and builds the ground nest. The male takes on the responsibility of incubating the eggs and tending to the young, proving it to be an exceptional bird house parent.


  1. Habitat Loss : Rapid urbanisation and agricultural expansion are leading to significant loss of natural habitats. These buttonquails inhabit grasslands and scrub jungles, environments that are increasingly converted for human use, thereby forcing these birds to adapt to shrinking habitats.
  1. Pesticide Exposure : Agricultural intensification involves the widespread use of chemical pesticides, which can pose severe risks to the Yellow-legged Buttonquail. Ingesting pesticide-contaminated food can lead to toxicity, affecting their health and reproduction.
  1. Climate Change : Changes in weather patterns due to global warming can disrupt the natural lifecycle of these birds, especially their migration and breeding patterns. Unpredictable weather events can also directly affect their survival.
  1. Human Disturbances : Human activities like hunting, farming, or even recreational activities in the bird sanctuaries can disturb these ground-dwelling birds, causing stress and displacement.
  1. Predation : Given their small size and ground-dwelling nature, Yellow-legged Buttonquails are prey to larger animals and birds. Increased predation can have an impact on their population.
  1. Competition for Resources : With the loss of habitats and changes in ecosystems, competition for food resources can increase among different species. This competition can threaten the survival of the Yellow-legged Buttonquail, particularly in regions where food resources are scarce.

Each of these threats presents a significant challenge to the survival of the Yellow-legged Buttonquail. Hence, there is an urgent need for comprehensive conservation efforts to protect this unique bird species.

IUCN Status and Conservation

As of now, the Yellow-legged Buttonquail’s IUCN status is not evaluated. However, with the escalating anthropogenic threats, it’s imperative to focus on their conservation. Ensuring the protection of their natural habitats, minimizing the use of pesticides, and establishing more protected birdlife sanctuary zones can help in preserving these delightful birds for future generations.

As bird lovers and custodians of nature, it’s our responsibility to appreciate and protect the diverse avian life around us. Next time you visit a bird shop near me or a bird sanctuary, keep an eye out for the enigmatic Yellow-legged Buttonquail, a tiny yet captivating embodiment of the natural world’s wonder.

More info about Yellow-legged Buttonquail’s: Link

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