Gorgeted wood-quail (Odontophorus strophium)

Gorgeted wood-quail sitting on the ground
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Gorgeted wood-quail fact file

Gorgeted wood-quail description

GenusOdontophorus (1)

The gorgeted wood-quail is a small New World quail distinguished by the distinctive black and white bands on its throat. The rest of the plumage is largely brownish in colour, with dark upperparts, spotted and streaked with black and buff, and more reddish underparts, spotted with white on the breast. The male gorgeted wood-quail sports a short blackish-brown crest, a blackish-brown eyestripe, white cheeks and a white line above the eye, while the female is similar in appearance, but more greyish below, with reduced spotting on the breast, a white chin, and a white throat, crossed by a band of black spots. The legs and short beak are black (2) (3) (4). Immature individuals are more brownish-grey on the breast and side, with the white breast spots reduced to streaks (2). The song of the gorgeted wood-quail, given in the early morning, is described as loud and “rollicking” (3), consisting of multiple repetitions of short phrases (5).

Also known as
Gorgeted wood quail.
Length: 25 - 27 cm (2) (3)
ca. 302 g (2)

Gorgeted wood-quail biology

Relatively little is known about the biology of the gorgeted wood-quail. Found on the forest floor (2) (4), it feeds on a diet of fruit, seeds and arthropods (2) (3) (6) (7), and is usually seen in small groups of up to three birds (2) (7). Breeding occurs from March to May and September to November, apparently coinciding with the periods of peak rainfall (2) (3) (6) (7). However, no other information is available on the reproductive behaviour of this species.


Gorgeted wood-quail range

The gorgeted wood-quail is endemic to a small area of the western slope of the East Andes, in Colombia. Originally known from a few sites in the department of Cundinamarca, the species has since only been recorded to the north, in the department of Santander (2) (3) (4) (6) (7).


Gorgeted wood-quail habitat

This species inhabits humid temperate and subtropical forests dominated by oak and laurel species, at elevations of around 1,500 to 2,900 metres (2) (3) (5) (6) (7). Although believed to be dependent on primary forest for at least part of its life cycle, the gorgeted wood-quail has also been recorded in secondary and degraded forest (2) (3) (6) (7).


Gorgeted wood-quail status

Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered


Gorgeted wood-quail threats

In 2008, the gorgeted wood-quail was downlisted by the IUCN from Critically Endangered to Endangered after surveys found it to be more widespread than previously thought (3). However, the species is still under serious threat from hunting and habitat loss, with most of its habitat having already been converted to agriculture, plantations and grazing land, and the remaining forest reduced to tiny, isolated patches (2) (3) (6) (7). The highly restricted and fragmented range of the gorgeted wood-quail, encompassing an area no more than 280 kilometres in length, together with its small population size, makes it particularly vulnerable to any threats (2) (3). As a ground-dwelling species it may also have a limited ability to disperse (5), making a lack of habitat connectivity particularly detrimental to its survival.


Gorgeted wood-quail conservation

The gorgeted wood-quail receives some protection within the Guanentá-Alto Río Fonce Flora and Fauna Sanctuary and the adjacent Cachalu Biological Reserve, and efforts have been underway to set up research projects in these areas (2) (3) (6) (7). Fundación ProAves have undertaken population studies in Serranía de los Yariguíes, as well as distributing educational materials to local people (3) (5), and further studies have been recommended to assess and monitor the population, survey further sites, investigate the level of hunting pressure, and assess the species’ use of secondary forest (3) (5) (6) (7). Effective protection of the remaining forest areas is needed, and if this rare forest quail is found to also occur at any additional sites, it will be important to ensure that these also receive adequate protection (3) (6) (7).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

To find out more about the gorgeted wood-quail and its conservation see:

For more information on the conservation of Galliformes see:
  • The World Pheasant Association:
  • Fuller, R.A., Carroll, J.P. and McGowan, P.J.K. (2000) Partridges, Quails, Francolins, Snowcocks, Guineafowl, and Turkeys. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan 2000-2004. WPA/BirdLife/SSC Partridge, Quail, and Francolin Specialist Group, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK, and the World Pheasant Association, Reading, UK. Available at:


This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:



A very diverse phylum (a major grouping of animals) that includes crustaceans, insects and arachnids. All arthropods have paired jointed limbs and a hard external skeleton (exoskeleton).
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Primary forest
Forest that has remained undisturbed for a long time and has reached a mature condition.
Secondary forest
Forest that has re-grown after a major disturbance, such as fire or timber harvest, but has not yet reached the mature state of primary forest.


  1. IUCN Red List (January, 2010)
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1994) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. BirdLife International (January, 2010)
  4. Hilty, S.L. and Brown, W.L. (1986) A Guide to the Birds of Colombia. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.
  5. Fuller, R.A., Carroll, J.P. and McGowan, P.J.K. (2000) Partridges, Quails, Francolins, Snowcocks, Guineafowl, and Turkeys. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan 2000-2004. WPA/BirdLife/SSC Partridge, Quail, and Francolin Specialist Group, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK, and the World Pheasant Association, Reading, UK. Available at:
  6. Turner, C. and Donegan, T. (2006) Study of gorgeted wood-quail Odontphorus strophium in Serranía de los Yariguíes and its conservation. In: Huertas, B.C. and Donegan, T.M. (Eds.) Proyecto YARE: Investigación y Evaluación de las Especies Amenazadas de la Serranía de los Yariguíes. Informe Final 2005-2006. Colombian EBA Project Report Series 7. Fundación ProAves, Santander, Colombia. Available at:
  7. BirdLife International. (1992) Bare-necked umbrellabird Cephalopterus glabricollis. In: BirdLife International. Threatened Birds of the Americas. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK. Available at:

Image credit

Gorgeted wood-quail sitting on the ground  
Gorgeted wood-quail sitting on the ground

© Fundación ProAves - www.proaves.org

Fundación ProAves


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