Birds Australia North Queensland

Pied Imperial-Pigeon logo of BANQ

Search for Buff-breasted Buttonquail 2011
Mount Molloy and Mount Mulligan, 3-4 December 2011

A highly speculative weekend has been organised to look for Australia's second rarest bird, the Buff-breasted Button-quail. This bird has been recorded in the Mt Molloy area and also 60km to the west at Mt Mulligan. Late in the year has been chosen. Although hot, this gives the best chance for the vegetation to die down and provide suitable habitat.


Saturday 3 December

  • 7:00am: Meet at Mareeba Wetlands and search for suitable habitat.
  • Midday: Drive to Mt Mulligan during the heat of the day.
  • 4:00pm: Search possibly suitable habitat at Mt Mulligan. Stay overnight.
  • Sunday 4 December

  • 6:30am: Search possibly suitable habitat in Mt Mulligan area.
  • Accommodation

    Camping only, is available at Mt Mulligan Station (shower/toilet facilities, bring your own food and cooking equipment).

    Camping and cabin facilities are available at Tryconnell Mine (Food can be provided).


    Mt Mulligan is 50km North of Dimbulah and is well signposted. The last 40km is dirt road. It could just be travelled by 2WD but 4WD is recommended. Mt Mulligan is the site of Australia's worst mining disaster, 75 miners were killed by an explosion in the coal mine in 1921. The explosion was so loud it could be heard in Mt Molloy.

    The mountain is a poorly marketed version of Uluru. It is actually much larger and just as impressive. Birding amongst the ruins of the mining town, birdsong echoing off the escarpment glowing red in the morning sun is a unique experience, particularly when combined with the ever present possibility of encountering a rare Button-quail.

    It will be hot, horrible and we are highly unlikely to see any quail. An interest in history and bushwalking will be an advantage. Participants will need to be physically fit, have very low expectations of success and a good sense of humour.


    Please contact Dominic Chaplin, evenings (07) 4056 2658, if you are interested in coming so we can best co-ordinate our activities.

    Further Information

  • How to distinguish a Buff-breasted Button-quail by Lloyd Nielsen
  • How to see a Buff-breasted Button-quail by Richard Baxter