Home » Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation » Conserving Mur’rindum (Black-breasted button-quail) on Butchulla Country

Conserving Mur’rindum (Black-breasted button-quail) on Butchulla Country

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Mur’rindum (Butchulla language), Black-breasted button-quail, Turnix Melanogaster or BBBQ is listed as Vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992.

Female mur’rindum or black-breasted button-quail (photo: Patrick Webster)

Sadly, the species is negatively impacted by bushfires and drought (through impacts to its habitat), both associated with climate change. The Butchulla Land and Sea Rangers (BLSR) are currently undertaking a 3-year project to deliver actions under the National recovery plan for the BBBQ and increase its resilience to climate change.

Funded by a Queensland Government Community Sustainability Action Grant, project work started in August with a week-long training workshop. Rangers deployed trail cameras on K’gari and adjacent Butchulla Country, including the Inskip Recreational Area and Double Island Point, where BBBQ populations had previously been recorded.

BLSR training participants were joined by QPWS Rangers, and FINIA volunteers with Patrick Webster from UQ (Photo: Chris Barnes)

BBBQ researcher Patrick Webster from the University of Queensland delivered the training, supported by the Queensland Herbarium (who unfortunately could not attend due to a Brisbane lockdown). A total of eleven people were trained. The team was led by the BLSR’s Chantel Van Wamelen, Myles Broome, Blayde Foley, Tilly Davis and Jymara Burns, with QPWS Rangers Russ Simkins, Megan Wilson, Rachel Killer and Grant Matson, with volunteers Chris Barnes and Sue Sargent (USC/FINIA).

Nine sites were assessed between Inskip Point and Double Island Point, with five cameras put in place. A further 19 sites on K’gari were assessed along the island’s east coast between Hook Point and Champagne Pools, with 15 cameras left in situ.

Preliminary assessment has confirmed mur’rindum at several locations (Photo: BLSR)

Fire probably poses the greatest threat to BBBQ habitat in this region, which was evident in the re-assessment of BBBQ sites that were active in 2018. Many of these locations were burnt out during the 2020 K’gari bushfire event, with no signs of current BBBQ activity.

On site, there was evidence of feral cats, fox and habitat damage by pigs (mainland only). Access management and associated weeds such as green panic grass, lantana, Mossman River grass, blackberry nightshade and passion vine were also identified as a threat as these species do not provide suitable habitat for the birds. 

After six weeks, the cameras were collected with some great initial results. There was lots of evidence of BBBQ activity at Inskip Point (Rainbow Beach) and around Dilli Village and Champagne Pools (K’gari). As a result, the BLSR will be focusing on this area with future habitat protection from identified threats and traditional fire plans for the next burn season.

A fact sheet about the species has been developed and is available here.

Article contributed by Chantel Van Wamelen, Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation

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