Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Black-breasted Buttonquail Looking Good


Black-breasted Buttonquail is endemic to the dry lowland rainforests of south-east Queensland. It is at or close to the top of the wishlists of visiting birders, and is one of my favourites.


I first found a population of this species in Imbil State Forest in the late-1990s. The birds have been there consistently ever since, though usually they are hard to see in the thick lantana on the edge of Hoop Pine plantations that they inhabit. On this score, I'm convinced that caution needs to be exercised in eliminating this foreign weed. With the great bulk of the bird's natural dry rainforest habitat gone, lantana appears to be playing an important role in securing the bird's future. Lantana is also used extensively by Lewin's Rail and Pale-vented Bush-hen, among others, along with numerous butterflies. The weed presumably supplies a degree of protection from feral cats and other predators.


At Imbil, the birds live side-by-side with their cogener, Painted Buttonquail, and with Brown Quail. Please don't ask for site details. It's a small area that I want to avoid being trampled. Those wanting to see this species can do so at the well-known site at Imbil Point, where the birds inhabit more open habitat and are easier to see.



I've often been to the Imbil site and not seen buttonquail. Their distinctive platelets are always evident but vary in frequency, suggesting that the population fluctuates.


 Yesterday, fresh platelets were plentiful, and excellent, prolonged views were had of 3 different female Black-breasted Buttonquail. A list of birds seen at the Imbil site can be found here.

Black-breasted Buttonquail calling
I also heard the buttonquail calling for the first time. The bird in this image can be seen calling.

Spectacled Monarch

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo
I also visited nearby Moy Pocket, where birds included Spectacled Monarch and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo. White-eared Monarch and Dusky Honeyeater were present at both Imbil and Moy Pocket.

Red-legged Pademelon
This Red-legged Pademelon was looking smart at Mary Cairncross Park.

Wallum heath near Noosa
Two King Quail were among birds seen during a visit to an area of wallum heath near Noosa. The wildflowers are having an excellent Spring season this year.

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