Distribution of Black-breasted Button-quail in the Fitzroy Basin, and extent and condition of remnant dry rainforest habitat
reportposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Wayne HoustonWayne Houston, Leif BlackLeif Black, Robert BlackRobert Black
Black-breasted Button-quail (Turnix melanogaster) is listed as vulnerable under the Regulations of the Queensland Government Nature Conservation Act 1992 and the Federal Government Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Historically, Black-breasted Button Quails occupied a range from Marlborough in the north, south to northern NSW and about 300 km inland including the Dawson and Fitzroy valleys in central Queensland. Its inland distribution broadly corresponds to the western extent of drier rainforests in eastern Australia, where these habitats typically occur as small isolated patches surrounded by extensive eucalypt woodlands. Known habitat includes microphyll vine forest, notophyll vine forest, semi-evergreen vine thicket, littoral vine forest, Brigalow vine scrub or Brigalow-Belah closed forest, as well as regrowth Acacia thickets associated with beach ridges. Important attributes of Black-breasted Button-quail habitat are a closed canopy and a dense cover of leaf litter, both characteristic of rainforest associations with a pronounced seasonal dry period such as dry rainforests. Much Black-breasted Button-quail habitat in the Brigalow Belt has been substantially reduced by clearing of Bottletree scrubs and other closed canopy Brigalow associations. However, recent surveys indicate that they may still be relatively widespread in the region. Eight new sites were found in the Fitzroy Basin and adjoining south-east Queensland regions between 2004 and 2009. Thus there is a need to identify valuable remnants so that protection and management can be improved. Black-breasted Button-quail is a cryptic species and identification of their presence relies mainly on the presence of platelets; small depressions formed in the leaf litter when feeding.