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|
|Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo|
|Wallum heath near Noosa|