Luzon Buttonquail Turnix worcesteri


Justification of Red List category
With no reliable data on its population, range, trends and threats, the threat status of this species is difficult to determine. With so few records it could prove to be on the precipice of extinction (thus listed as Critically Endangered) or it could prove common in areas not yet explored (thus Least Concern). Consequently, it is listed as Data Deficient.

Population justification
This species has only rarely been recorded (with no records since 2009; Allen [2020]). It may therefore be genuinely very rare, or it could be that the region and habitat it occupies remains to be extensively searched. Consequently, even qualitative estimations of its abundance are considered unreliable.

Trend justification
The population trend is of this species is wholly unknown due to there being nothing precisely known of its distribution, habitat requirements or biology. It may however be in decline because of human predation (BirdLife International 2001).

Distribution and population

Turnix worcesteri is endemic to the island of Luzon in the Philippines, where it is known from just six localities. Virtually all records have derived from bird-catchers and are assumed to be intra-island migrants. There is a recent (January 2009) record of an individual photographed at Dalton Pass at a poultry market (Allen 2009). The limited available evidence suggests that it breeds somewhere in northern Luzon in April-June and that at least some birds disperse southwards in the period July-March. Thus its true range (and habitat) remain obscure. It appears to be rare; however, buttonquails are a notoriously cryptic and unobtrusive family of birds, and the species could conceivably occur in reasonable numbers somewhere. If it does inhabit grasslands, it cannot be assumed that increases in this habitat on Luzon have benefited the species, which may prove to have specific ecological requirements not met by the creation of pastures or cropland through forest clearance.


It may be confined to grasslands in the highlands of the Cordillera Central, although records are from 150-1,250 m, and the possibility that it frequents forested (non-grassland) habitats cannot be discounted. It has been stated that it inhabits tall grass under pine trees (per Allen 2009), although this requires verification.


Hunting evidently poses a threat (e.g. at the migratory funnel and bird-catching area of Dalton Pass, Nueva Vizcaya and in forest preserves [Scheffers et al. 2012]), but the impact of this on its population cannot currently be gauged.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Prioritise fieldwork to locate viable populations of the species and identify suitable areas where it might be effectively protected.


Text account compilers
Berryman, A.

Allen, D., Taylor, J., Lowen, J., Benstead, P., North, A. & Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Turnix worcesteri. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/luzon-buttonquail-turnix-worcesteri on 30/11/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 30/11/2023.