Red-backed Button-quail at Argyle Diamond Mine

A small quail was found at the main Mining workshop at the Argyle Diamond Mine in the NE Kimberley of WA over the Easter weekend.  This is after the period of fairly heavy rain following the passing of Cyclone Rosita in the west Kimberley.

I was shown the bird today by Jeff Waddington from the Environmental section and I easily identified it as a female Red-backed Button-quail.  The yellow wing coverts, the pale yellow underparts and the black chevrons along the flanks were the main diagnostic features.  Other features were pale eyes, sparsely streaked back, more reddish around face, yellow / black thin bill, yellow legs, black crown with one or two pale streaks.  The chestnut on the hind neck was not readily noticeable even with the bird in the hand.  The illustrations in Simpson & Day (2nd Edition) are very accurate except for the lack of chestnut on the hind neck and leading down to the shoulders.

This is a new bird for the Argyle list bringing the total to 206 species since records were commenced in the 1983 environmental surveys.

This is only my second record for Western Australia.  My first sighting was on the open grass plain at the back of the Broome Bird Observatory in early April 1996, which I wrote up in WA Bird Notes.  They are reported very rarely in the Kimberley from near Wyndham, Kununurra and places such as Kingston Rest Station.

Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2002 Visits Last Modified 31st January 2002