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Quail Plover, Poli, Cameroon (5891141663).jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Turnicidae
Genus: Ortyxelos
Vieillot, 1825
Species: O. meiffrenii
Binomial name
Ortyxelos meiffrenii
(Vieillot, 1819)

The lark buttonquail, lark-plover or quail-plover (Ortyxelos meiffrenii) is a species of buttonquail in the family Turnicidae. It is monotypic within the genus Ortyxelos.[2]


The quail-plover is a small, short-tailed cursorial bird which looks a little like a miniature courser when on the ground. The upperparts are a snady-rufous colour, the underparts mainly whitish but it shows a distinctive wing pattern in flight when the contrast between the white greater coverts and the black white-tipped remiges to form a distinct diagonal band on the upperwing. Its fluttering flight is rather lark-like. The female is slightly darker than the male while the juvenile is paler.[3]

Habits and habitat[edit]

The quail-plover is usually found singly or in pairs in dry grassland and thorn scrub. It is rather skulking preferring to move stealthily through grass but also running around like a courser in the open. Tends to crouch down and hide when approached and flushes only when the observer is almost on top of it and then flies off with a jerky undulating flight. It breeds during the dry season and moves north ahead of the rains[3] It tends to be more active at night and to call with a soft low whistle like the wind going through a pipe during moonlit nights.[4]


The Sahel from southern Mauretania and northern Senegal eastwards to northern Cameroon and southern Chad[3] into South Sudan and southern Sudan[1] with separate population in northern Benin and coastal Ghana,[3] with another in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia.[5]

Conservation status[edit]

The quail-plover has an extremely large range, its population trend is not known, the population is not understood to be undergoing a sufficiently rapid decline to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion while the population size has not been quantified so the species is evaluated as Least Concern.[5]


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Ortyxelos meiffrenii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "ITIS Report: Ortyxelos". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d Borrow, Nik; Demey, Ron (2001). Birds of Western Africa. A & C Black. p. 408. ISBN 0-7136-3959-8. 
  4. ^ Zimmerman, Dale A.; Turner, Donald A.; Pearson, David J. (1996). Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania. Christiopher Helm. pp. 372–373. ISBN 0-7136-3968-7. 
  5. ^ a b "Quail-plover Ortyxelos meiffrenii". Birdlife International. Retrieved 17 October 2016.