LC
Chestnut-backed Buttonquail Turnix castanotus



Justification

Justification of Red List Category

This species was listed as Near Threatened because it was suspected to have undergone at least a moderately rapid population reduction, and was believed to have a moderately small range (although not severely fragmented or restricted to few locations), however no recent declines have been reported even though the population is sparse and scattered, and population declines in the last three generations (11 years) are considered unlikely. As the range and population are now estimated to be large, and thus the species does not approach the thresholds for classification as Vulnerable under any of the other criteria, it has been downlisted to Least Concern.

Population justification
Its population could possibly number c.100,000 birds, including c.50,000 mature individuals. However, there are effectively no data to support this (S. Garnett in litt. 2007, J. Woinarski in litt. 2007).

Trend justification
The species may historically have disappeared from half of its range, particularly near the McArthur River region, where it was last recorded in 1913 (Garnett and Crowley 2000), however no recent declines have been reported even though the population is sparse and scattered, and population declines in the last three generations (11 years) are considered unlikely (Garnett et al. 2011). The population trend is therefore suspected to be stable.

Distribution and population

Turnix castanotus has a disjunct distribution in Top End, Northern Territory, and the Kimberley region, northern Western Australia, Australia. It could possibly number c.100,000 birds, including c.50,000 mature individuals. The species has not been seen in the McArthur River region since 1913, however no recent declines have been reported even though the population is sparse and scattered, and the population is not currently thought to be declining (Garnett et al. 2011).

Ecology

The species prefers areas of short grass in eucalypt woodland, particularly on stony or rocky hills (J. Woinarski in litt. 2007). Limited data suggest that it feeds on seeds and insects. Its nest is a dome of grass on the ground.

Threats

Its decline in the McArthur River region, from where the Partridge Pigeon Geophaps s. smithii and Hooded Parrot Psephotus dissimilis have also been extirpated, suggests that large-scale changes in habitat may be affecting the species. Possibilities include grazing by introduced herbivores or inappropriate changes in the fire regime. The spread of annual Sorghum spp. and exotic pasture grasses may be particularly detrimental to ground-dwelling granivores. This species may be adversely affected by global climate change, which could cause even more unfavourable fire regimes (J. Woinarski in litt. 2007).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation actions are known for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Determine the characteristics of habitat used by the species. Correlate distribution with patterns of fire and grazing. Devise and implement optimum management regime, especially in protected areas.

Acknowledgements

Text account compilers
Garnett, S., McClellan, R., O'Brien, A., Symes, A., Taylor, J.

Contributors
Garnett, S., Woinarski, J.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Turnix castanotus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/07/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/07/2020.