Small buttonquail Turnix sylvaticus adult and chick, photographed by Udayan Rao Pawar.

Belongs within: Charadriiformes.

The Turnicidae, buttonquails, are a group of plump-bodied terrestrial birds found in tropical and subtropical regions of the Old World. Buttonquails closely resemble true quails but are not closely related and differ in the absence of a hind toe. They are divided between two genera with the quail-plover Ortyxelos meiffrenii of northern tropical Africa having proportionately longer wings than species of the genus Turnix.

<==Turnicidae [Hemipodiidae, Ortygidae, Turnices, Turnicinae]
    |--Ortyxelos Vieillot 1825 [Ortyxelidae] L98
    |    `--O. meiffrenii JT12
    `--Turnix Bonnaterre 1791 L98 [incl. Hemipodius Temminck 1815 B94, Ortygis Illiger 1811 B94]
         |  i. s.: ‘Hemipodius’ andalusicus S66
         |         T. castanotus (Gould 1839) JT12, WS48 (see below for synonymy)
         |         T. everetti JT12
         |         T. maculosus (Temminck 1815) JT12, WS48 [=Hemipodius maculosus WS48]
         |           |--T. m. maculosiu WS48
         |           `--T. m. pseustes Mathews 1912 WS48
         |         T. melanogaster JT12
         |         T. nigricollis JT12
         |         T. ocellatus JT12
         |         T. olivii JT12
         |         T. velox (Gould 1841) (see below for synonymy) WS48
         |         T. worcesteri JT12
         |--+--T. suscitator JT12
         |  `--T. tanki JT12
         `--+--T. sylvaticus BKB15
            |    |--T. s. sylvaticus RN72
            |    `--T. s. lepurana RN72
            `--+--T. pyrrhothorax (Gould 1841) BKB15, WS48 (see below for synonymy)
               `--+--T. hottentottus BKB15
                  `--T. varius (Latham 1802) BKB15, CC10 [=Perdix varia CC10, T. varia CC10]
                       |--T. v. varius [incl. T. varia stirlingi Mathews 1912] WS48
                       |--T. v. novaecaledoniae S13
                       `--T. v. scintillans (Gould 1845) [=Hemipodius scintillans] WS48

Turnix castanotus (Gould 1839) JT12, WS48 [=Hemipodius castanotus WS48; incl. T. castanota magnifica Mathews 1912 WS48]

Turnix pyrrhothorax (Gould 1841) BKB15, WS48 [=Hemipodius pyrrhothorax WS48; incl. T. pyrrhothorax berneyi Mathews 1912 WS48]

Turnix velox (Gould 1841) [=Hemipodius velox; incl. T. velox picturata Mathews 1912, T. velox vinotincta Mathews 1912] WS48

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1–281.

[BKB15] Burleigh, J. G., R. T. Kimball & E. L. Braun. 2015. Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 53–63.

[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[L98] Livezey, B. C. 1998. A phylogenetic analysis of the Gruiformes (Aves) based on morphological characters, with an emphasis on the rails (Rallidae). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B—Biological Sciences 353: 2077–2151.

[RN72] Rutgers, A., & K. A. Norris (eds) 1972. Encyclopaedia of Aviculture vol. 1. London, Blandford Press.

[S13] Sarasin, F. 1913. Die Vögel Neu-Caledoniens und der Loyalty-Inseln. In: Sarasin, F., & J. Roux (eds) Nova Caledonia: Forschungen in Neu-Caledonian und auf den Loyalty-Inseln. A. Zoologie vol. 1 pt 1 pp. 1–78, pls 1–3. C. W. Kreidels Verlag: Wiesbaden.

[S66] Sclater, P. L. 1866. Report on birds collected at Windvogelberg, South Africa, by Capt. G. E. Bulger, C. M. Z. S. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 21–23.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M., & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1–126.

Last updated: 15 August 2019.

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