The search for the enigmatic Fynbos Buttonquail

By Paula Strauss, Research Coordinator & Entomologist at the Grootbos Foundation


The Grootbos Foundation and partners have conducted several transect flushes, walking through our beautiful Overberg fynbos to find the enigmatic Fynbos Buttonquail (Turnix hottentottus).

Flushes are conducted by teams of five or more people, with climate readings taken before and after each flush, to gather more information on potential activity times.

To date only eight birds have been detected, from three flushes and four random sightings, mainly in young or short mountainous fynbos. This lends further support that this secretive bird appears to be a habitat specialist, threatened by invasive plants and a lack of young fynbos to frolic in.

Because so little is known about the presence of the Fynbos Buttonquail, with the Overberg Crane Group, Fynbos Trust and the Grootbos Foundation support, a project is underway in the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy to learn more.

In 2022, these partners hope to find more populations to add to the available information and better inform avian conservation practices.

Photo credits: Grootbos Foundation and Steve Peck (above, right)