Photo courtesy: Thrumshingla National Park, Bumthang

Presence of Barred Buttonquail confirmed in Thrumshingla

The staff of central range office in Ligmethang under Mongar sighted a dead female Barred Buttonquail in Thrumshingla National park (TNP).

A dead female Barred Buttonquail was found in the dry Chirpine forest area in Lingmethang at an elevation of 630m above sea level. The same bird species was sighted in the same place in 2004 by an ornithologist and a team from Ugyen Wangchuck Institute of Conservation of Environment.

According to an official with TNP, Ugyen Namgyal, the particular bird species was not included in the annotated bird check list of the park in the past as the listing was concentrated exclusively within the park boundary. He said that through the sighting of the Barred Buttonquail now and in 2004, under the same buffer zone that is under the administrative jurisdiction of the park, therefore, the Buttonquail species that is classified under the order of Turniciformes and family of Turnidae adds to the bird species list in Bhutan, the total coming to 362.

The Buttonquails are known to inhabit rice paddy fields and grassy plains, adaptable to areas that are dry and sandy with woody vegetation overgrowth or shrubs. They are approximately 15cm with wing measuring 72-85mm for males and 77-90 for females. The tail length of males is narrower than that of the females.

The males are identified by their cream-coloured throats and females by their black throats. The females are more brightly coloured than the male with blackish–grey above and mottled with chestnut and scattered whitish streaks.

The female is a prolific layer, usually laying four eggs at a time. An egg weighs around 4.6 g to 7.1 g with an incubation period of approximately 40 days. The breeding season happens throughout the year as there with two nesting cycles per year.

The bird is known to feed on various grass seeds including millet, fresh greens and small invertebrates. They also consume insects and a bit of green vegetation. The Barred Buttonquail is listed as ‘least concern’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of threatened species. The bird is also known to reside in Samtse, at an elevation of 610m, while in the Asian region, it inhabits parts of India across to the tropical Asia to South China, Indonesia and the Philippines.

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