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If you want to learn about a special type of quail, then you should definitely give this article a read. The snow mountain quail of the order Galliformes, family Phasianidae, is a large bird found in Indonesia. Its range covers the famous Snow and Star mountains of New Guinea. These birds bear a close resemblance with other birds of the family Phasianidae like turkey, pheasants, and junglefowl. However, the snow mountain quail (Anurophasis monorthonyx) is monotypic. Monotypic species solely represent any scientific genus; in other words, they are the only members categorized into that genus. This genus was discovered by Van Oort, 1910.
As snow mountain quail are found in very inaccessible regions, not much research efforts have been put in. Knowledge about this quail species is thus limited. This reflects strongly on the lack of conservation strategy and efforts. At present, we do not even have an exact estimate of its population or its breeding patterns. Only after these details have been carefully analyzed can we protect these Near Threatened species.
Read on to know more about the snow mountain quail's distribution, breeding pattern, and other facts!
A snow mountain quail is a large bird of the order Galliformes, family Phasianidae. The quail shares this group with other heavy, ground birds such as pheasants, turkeys, peafowls.
The snow mountain quail (Anurophasis monorthonyx) belongs to the class Aves.
Exact information about its current populace is not available. Keeping in mind its naturally fragmented distribution and limited range, its numbers are considered low.
Native to Indonesia, this species is endemic to the high-altitude mountainous areas of the Snow and Star Mountains, New Guinea. Its estimated range of occurrence is 8,147 sq mi (21,100 sq km) over the northern slopes of the Jaya mountains (Cartstensz) and Trikora mountains (Wilhelmina). Recent explorations have located this species in Lake Habbema and other regions such as mine Freeport. As its habitat range is scattered, its population is considered to be naturally low.
The snow mountain quail (Anurophasis monorthonyx) live in fairly high altitude regions, ranging from 9842-13779 ft (3,000-42,00 m) elevation. It inhabits tropical or subtropical grasslands and shrublands.
These birds are solitary creatures. However, at times, they can be viewed foraging in groups of two or three.
The lifespan specific to the snow mountain quail has not yet been recorded.
The breeding season is the months around September. Female birds lay three eggs, which are pale brown in color with dark brown spots. Its nest is built on the ground alongside large shrubs such as tussock. The baby chicks have a puffed appearance and are covered in brown plumage barred with black spots, with a tiny yellow beak. It camouflages well against its surroundings. Not much data is available on its mating patterns or nesting behavior. A related species, the mountain quail, takes about 21 - 25 days to incubate and hatch the eggs.
The conservation status of this bird by the IUCN Red List is recorded as Near Threatened. While no empirical studies have been conducted to assess its population trend, reporting of hunting and habitat degradation are cited as reasons for this decline. A new highway in the New Guinea area might expose its previously inaccessible areas to hunters, spiking this trend. The related species of mountain quail is recorded with a status of Critically Endangered, but not extinct yet.
These are large-sized terrestrial birds at least 11 in (28 cm) long. It has a big, oval-shaped appearance and closely resembles pheasants. Covered in brown plumage, they have a fluffy appearance and a very short tail. Its feathers have dark barrings on its underparts, crown, ears, flanks, and breast. Its neck and head sides are unmarked while the forehead is not. Its face has a small sharp yellow beak with brown glossy eyes. Its feet, too, are bright yellow in color. Females are relatively paler-looking and have white-colored underparts. Juveniles, too, resemble the adults but do have very distinct markings.
The snow mountain quail are cute, especially the little chicks, which have a fluffy appearance, just like a California quail.
The only vocal recording of snow mountain quail was its call which is described as squeeeah, which is an over-slurred squeal. When it is alarmed, it repeats the same noise at least four to five times.
The information available on common quails suggests that species of this family, Phasianidae, use acoustic, chemical, visual, and tactile perception channels.
Snow mountain quail is a big bird of at least 11 in (28 cm), which means they are about twice the size of a robin. They have a big, spherical physique with a ruffled appearance. They are the same size as a mountain quail, which measures 10-11 in (26–28 cm).
These birds are relatively sedentary in nature. It takes short flights and descends 163-328 ft (50-100 m) back to the ground.
An approximate estimate of its weight is around 0.8 lb (400 g). The bird tends to have quite a bulky appearance but is not very heavy.
In some places, the male quail is called a roo or a cock, whereas the female is known by the name hen. The same name could also be used for snow mountain quail.
A baby snow mountain quail can be called a chick.
The snow mountain quail has an omnivorous diet, which means they feed both on plants and short insects. This includes short flower heads, seeds, small caterpillars, leaves, and foliage. The mountain quail has a more plant-based diet, however, the chicks are insectivores.
Snow mountain quail birds are not known to be poisonous.
No, the snow mountain quail is a wild bird species. They are adapted to a certain environment in the mountains, which might be difficult to replicate and accommodate in a domesticated setting.
Keeping in mind the monotypic snow mountain quail, similar classifications can be found among other species such as homo sapiens of the genus Homo, family Hominidae.
Humans, too, are monotypic because we do not share our genus with any other species in the world. While early human beings had six to eight sub-species, we outgrew them.
Current data on snow mountain quail does not entail information on their mating patterns. Commonly, other quail species are known to be polygynous, and males do not co-parent with female birds. The California quail is monogamous but pairs up with a different female every breeding season.
Based on the limited information on this species, it can be said that snow mountain quail birds would need a number of suitable conditions. These might include conditions such as a high altitude range, close to 9842-13779 ft (3,000-42,00 m), a rich omnivorous diet, and sufficient space to build a nest. They can probably be kept as pets in the mountains.
Snow mountain quail species is considered to be Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List. The species are close to the set threatened thresholds and run a high risk without any ongoing conservation steps. The snow mountain quail species face this risk primarily because of low naturally occurring distribution, high hunting rates, and habitat degradation.
At present, conservation sites have been identified all over the distribution area of snow mountain quails. Moreover, based on preliminary assessments, certain actions are proposed as well. These include surveying the size of the sub-populations, controlling hunting near its range, restricting human development activities such as developing transportation and service corridors. These projects will add to the future effects of climate change and severe weather patterns. While these are good suggestions, none of them have been initiated yet.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these leghorn chicken facts and goose facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Snow mountain quail coloring pages.
*Please note: The main image is of a common bustard quail, not a snow mountain quail. If you have an image of the snow mountain quail, please let us know at [email protected]
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