The Worcester's buttonquail or Luzon buttonquail (Turnix worcesteri) – named after Dean Conant Worcester – is a species of bird in the Turnicidae family. It is endemic to the island of Luzon in the Philippines. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical high-altitude grassland. It is locally known as "Pugo". It is a cryptic species and not easy to observe and is listed as "Data Deficient" by the IUCN.
These birds are characterized by their black heads with white spots, a brown or fawn colored body and yellow legs on males. Females are brown with white and black spots. Previously only known from drawings and descriptions, actual photographs of the bird were taken in early 2009. A local birdwatching group, the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, found the quail at a public market in the Caraballo mountains. The lone specimen of the threatened species, which the group took pictures and videos of, was being sold as a simple food item by locals.
Distribution and habitat
Worcester's buttonquail is known only from the island of Luzon in the Philippines. It is a very elusive bird and is only known from a few individuals that have been taken by hunters. Its main habitat is thought to be grassland in the highlands but it is unclear whether it also inhabits forests. It has been observed to visit rice paddies and scrub lands near farm areas because of the availability of seeds and insects that they feed on regularly. These birds are very secretive, choosing to make small path ways through the rice fields, which unfortunately leads to their deaths as well, they are hunted by children and young men by means of setting spring traps along their usual path ways.
A news feature about the Worcester's buttonquail was aired in the Philippines recently by documentary filmmaker Howie Severino, a member of the GMA Network. It was mentioned that the documentary was the first time an actual live photo of the bird was taken. The photo was taken in Nueva Vizcaya in northern Luzon.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Turnix worcesteri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "Rare endangered Philippines quail spotted – on way to cooking pot". Home>Earth>Wildlife (Telegraph.co.uk). 2009-02-17. Retrieved 2009-02-18.
- "Species factsheet: Turnix worcesteri". BirdLife International. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
- Blog post
Mark Niel Maceda 2007