Pedionomus torquatus Gould near Adelaide, South Australia. Traditionally placed with the Turnicidae, but as of 1990s increasingly recognized as belonging in the Charadriiformes, family Pedionomidae, and allied with the seedsnipes (Thinocoridae).
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Collared plains-wanderer/hemipode, turkey quail; French: Pйdionome errant; German: Steppenlдufer; Spanish: Llanero.
5.9–7.5 in (15–19 cm); male 1.4–2.8 oz (40–80 g), female 1.9–3.4 oz (55–95 g). Buttonquail-like bird with longer legs, small raised hind toe, shorebird-like mannerisms. Mottled and scalloped brown, with pale, scalloped underside. Female larger, with black-and-white mottled collar, reddish upper breast. Juvenile smaller, with spotted underside.
Inland eastern Australia.
Sparse native grasslands with low herbaceous layer; rarely in stubble or sparse low crops.
Terrestrial, diurnal, and solitary except when pairing or when a male is tending chicks. Sedentary except when forced to move by drought or changes to habitat. Individuals occupy home ranges of 17.3–51.9 acres (7–21 hectares). Stands on tiptoe, with head bobbing, to scan for danger. Roosts solitarily in grass using the same roost nightly.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Eats seeds and insects obtained by gleaning from the ground or sometimes the standing heads of grasses. Lives without surface water but gleans dew and raindrops from vegetation.
Lays in spring and summer in temperate southern parts of its range, and autumn to early winter in subtropical northern parts. Possibly sequentially polyandrous. Clutch is usually four eggs, though up to five. Incubation 23 days. Young are independent after two months and can breed by one year old.
Classified as Vulnerable, revised to Endangered in 2000 by the IUCN and listed on Appendix II of CITES. Fairly widespread, but rare and declining owing to loss of native grasslands to agriculture.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Rare in aviculture.
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