If you’ve spent some time in the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, chances are good you’ve encountered these adorable, tiny birds. Not only do they help with pest management, they also add a fun surprise for our Nature Museum visitors! You can’t see them in person right now, but we’re taking this opportunity to introduce you to them virtually!
P.S. Once you’ve learned about our button quail you can make your own adorable roly-poly bird out of construction paper here.
What are button quail?
Also known as Chinese painted quail, these cute birds are ground dwellers. Since their feet aren’t designed to perch on sticks or branches, you won’t see them hanging out in the trees. Instead, you’ll probably find them hiding under some plants or running across the floor! Since they only measure in at about four inches, it’s easy for them to seek shelter under just about anything!
Guiding Question: What do you notice about the quail’s body? What clues does it give you about where it lives? Doss it remind you of any other birds? Where do those birds live?
Males & females
Like many other birds, button quail are sexually dimorphic. This means that the males and females look very different. Generally, the females are light to medium brown and males are predominantly blue with black, white, and rust-brown accents. This photo shows a female and male side-by-side.
Guiding Question: Which bird do you think is the male? Which do you think is the female? Why do you think that? Why do you think that they have such different colors?
What do button quail eat?
Button quail are omnivores. This means that they’ll eat fruits, vegetables, seeds, and bugs. Click here to watch a video of Marjorie feeding some of our button quail.
Guiding Question: What does “omnivore” mean? Are there other animals that we’ve talked about that are omnivores (rats, turtles)? How do you think the button quail’s diet is related to where it lives?
Bird care with Elena
All of the birds in the Butterfly Haven, including the button quail, require special care. Click here to watch Elena prepare food, water, and even tea for our beautiful birds!
Guiding Question: What did you notice about the foods Elena prepared for the birds? How are they similar to or different from what we eat? How are they similar to or different from what other birds eat?
Baby button quail!
The button quail in the Butterfly Haven are all adult now, but at one time they were all little chicks! Once button quail chicks hatch from their eggs, it takes just over a month for them to reach their adult size.
Behind the scenes!
Our staff has to clean up after feeding our animals, and that includes doing the dishes! Check out our Instagram highlights to see our staff hard at work behind the scenes.