In the quiet corners of nature, a quaint group of birds commences their stories with the letter ‘Q’. These quixotic questers, though relatively rare, add a touch of quirkiness to our avian tapestry. From quivering leaves to quiet watersides, join us as we embark on a journey to discover the enigmatic and often quirky lives of these ‘Q’-named birds.
List of Birds Starting with Q
- Quail (Various species including Gambel’s Quail and California Quail)
- Quaker Parakeet (also known as Monk Parakeet, introduced in some U.S. cities)
Quailfinch (Ortygospiza atricollis)
The Quailfinch, scientifically known as Ortygospiza atricollis, belongs to the family of the Estrildid Finches, or Estrildidae. These delightful birds are native to Africa and can be found in various habitats across the continent. They are primarily ground-dwelling birds that are commonly seen in open grasslands within their range. Quailfinches are resident species, meaning they do not migrate and remain in their habitats year-round.
The Quailfinch has a distinctly stocky and compact body, with a dark shade of greyish-brown feathers. They have heavy white streaking on their throat, flanks, and rump, which adds to their unique appearance. Their feet and legs are similar to those of larks, enabling them to walk on the ground for extended periods. These birds have a thick bill, which is specially designed for their feeding habits.
Speaking of feeding habits, Quailfinches are voracious seed-eaters. They have a reputation for their immense appetite and can often be observed foraging on the ground for seeds. Their short, thick bill helps them crack open the seeds and extract the nutritious contents. This diet of seeds provides them with the necessary energy to survive and thrive.
When it comes to the subspecies of Quailfinches, there are three recognized variations. These include the African Quailfinch (Ortygospiza atricollis fuscocrissa), Black-faced Quailfinch (Ortygospiza atricollis atricollis), and Black-chinned Quailfinch (Ortygospiza atricollis gabonensis). Each subspecies has its own unique characteristics and distribution range within Africa.
The IUCN had previously listed Quailfinches as a threatened species, but in 2013, they were moved to the Least Concerned List, reflecting their increasing population numbers. These charming birds are truly a sight to behold and a testament to the diversity of avian life on the African continent.
Quebracho Crested Tinamou (Eudromia Formosa)
The Quebracho Crested Tinamou, scientifically known as Eudromia Formosa, is a member of the Tinamou family, which is closely related to the flightless ratites. These birds are primarily found in the quebracho woodlands of northern Argentina, giving rise to their name.
Quebracho Crested Tinamous are known for their distinctive appearance. They have dark heads with several white stripes running down their throats, which adds to their unique charm. Their upper parts are greyish in color and display heavy streaking, while their underbody is white. Despite their smaller size in comparison to ratites, these birds also primarily reside on the ground.
The diet of Quebracho Crested Tinamous consists of a variety of plant materials and invertebrates. They are omnivores, consuming flowers, seeds, leaves, roots, fruits, and small invertebrates. Their varied diet ensures they receive all the necessary nutrients for their survival and well-being.
Quebracho Crested Tinamous have two recognized subspecies, each with slight variations in their plumage. These subspecies are geographically separated, with one occurring in the northern part of their range and the other in the southern part.
These fascinating birds are a testament to the immense diversity found in South America. Their unique appearance and habitat preferences make them a sought-after sight for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.
Quailfinch Indigobird (Vidua nigeriae)
The Quailfinch Indigobird, scientifically known as Vidua nigeriae, is an African bird that belongs to the family Viduidae. This family includes cuckoo-finches and whydahs, and the Quailfinch Indigobird is one of the standout species within this diverse group.
Unlike migratory birds, Quailfinch Indigobirds remain in their breeding grounds throughout the year. They inhabit isolated areas of central and west Africa, particularly river flood plains where they can find suitable nesting sites.
Quailfinch Indigobirds were once considered a subspecies of the Variable Indigobirds, but further studies revealed their unique characteristics and behavior, leading to their reclassification as an individual species.
These birds are brood parasites, meaning they lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species, particularly the African Quailfinches. This allows them to offload the burden of parenting onto the host species. Quailfinch Indigobirds are known for their secretive nature, making it a challenge to observe them in the wild.
Male Quailfinch Indigobirds are sexually dimorphic, meaning they have distinct differences in appearance between males and females. The males possess striking greenish-black plumage, often considered a display of their beauty and prowess. The females, on the other hand, have a duller plumage, resembling female House Sparrows.
The primary diet of Quailfinch Indigobirds consists of grains and seeds, making them seed-eaters. Their diet provides them with the necessary nutrients to sustain themselves and thrive in their particular habitat.
Quail-plover (Ortyxelos meiffrenii)
The Quail-plover, scientifically known as Ortyxelos meiffrenii, is a monotypic member of its genus. This means that it is the sole representative of its genus and stands out as a unique species within the buttonquail family. It is also commonly referred to as the Lark-buttonquail due to its similar flight style to that of larks.
Quail-plovers are small and short-tailed birds that bear a resemblance to Cursors on the ground. They have a sand-colored head and upper body, with white stripes running along their face. Their upper parts are streaked with white, while their undersides are pale buff and unmarked. These birds have dark eyes and pale, skin-colored legs.
The adult Quail-plovers exhibit sexual monomorphism, which means that both sexes have the same plumage. However, males are typically paler in color compared to females. This subtle difference in coloration allows individuals to distinguish between the sexes.
These unique birds occupy a particular niche within their habitat and have adapted to thrive in their specific conditions. Their preference for the habitat and diet is testament to their specialization and uniqueness within the avian world.
Queen Whydah (Vidua regia)
The Queen Whydah, scientifically known as Vidua regia, is a passerine bird native to Africa. These birds bear a resemblance in size to sparrows and are widespread across various habitats in the southern parts of Africa.
Queen Whydahs are primarily seed-eaters, with seeds and grains making up a significant portion of their diet. These birds have a versatile palate and can consume a wide variety of seeds and grains found in their habitat.
In terms of physical characteristics, the breeding males of the Queen Whydah display sexual dimorphism. During the breeding season, they have a jet-black crown on top of their head and dark upper parts. They possess elongated tail shaft feathers, which accounts for one of their alternative names, the “Shaft-tailed Whydah.” The underbody of the breeding males is bright yellow, creating a striking contrast.
Outside of the breeding season, both sexes of the Queen Whydah exhibit a dull, olive-brown plumage. This less conspicuous appearance allows them to blend into their surroundings and avoid predation.
The distribution of Queen Whydahs across the grasslands and open habitats of southern Africa demonstrates their adaptability and ability to thrive in diverse environments. Their relatively common occurrence in these habitats has led to their classification as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN.
Queen Victoria’s Riflebird (Lophorina victoriae)
The Queen Victoria’s Riflebird, scientifically known as Lophorina victoriae, is a bird-of-paradise species endemic to Queensland, Australia. This stunning bird is among the smaller members of the riflebird family.
Male Queen Victoria’s Riflebirds display a significant sexual dimorphism in their plumage. They have a blue-green head, bronze breast and underbody, and glossy purple upper parts. A distinctive feature of the males is a black velvet patch in the center of their throat, topped with a metallic blue triangle.
The female Queen Victoria’s Riflebirds, in contrast, have a dark brown plumage with paler, buff underparts. This difference in appearance between males and females is a common characteristic in many bird-of-paradise species.
These birds are non-migratory, meaning they remain in their designated range throughout the year. The Queen Victoria’s Riflebird can be found in the rainforests of Queensland, where it inhabits the canopy layer. Their preference for rainforest habitats highlights their reliance on specific environmental conditions for survival.
The Queen Victoria’s Riflebird is an emblem of the diversity and beauty found in Australian avifauna. Their exquisite plumage and behavioral displays make them a sight to behold for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.