SPECIES: Turnix melanogaster — Black-breasted Button-quail
There's only been a handful of confirmed records sighting of the Black-breasted Button-quail over the last 20 or so years. Seen in pairs or occasionally in small groups, the Black-breasted Button-quail is a large, plump pale-eyed button quail. Populations have declined dramatically over the last 100 years and this is unfortunately another species that was widespread prior to 1900.
At a good guess, around 5000 breeding birds remain but they are cryptic by nature and observing them is becoming increasingly difficult. The species prefer low, closed forests and forage for food on the forest floor - spiders, ants, beetles, snails and the like. Populations have become severely fragmented since European settlement from clearing of forests and bushland for agriculture. Also against these guys are fire and predation by cats, foxes and pigs, particularly as they are ground-nesters.