Family New World Quails (Odontophoridae)


Ocellated Quail (Cyrtonyx ocellatus)


French: Colin ocellé German: Tränenwachtel Spanish: Colín ocelado

Ortyx ocellatus


, 1837,

locality unknown = Guatemala


May be conspecific with C. montezumae and/or C. sallei. Possible race differens described from Honduras, but not usually considered valid. Monotypic.


S Mexico (E Oaxaca) E through W Guatemala, E El Salvador and Honduras to N Nicaragua.

Descriptive notes

19–23 cm; estmated weight of male 218 g, of female 182 g. Very distinctive head pattern; unlike C. montezumae, spotting on sides of upper breast fades away on... read more


Song a repeated single drawn-out burry whistle “preeeeee” (c. 1·3 seconds long, at constant c. 2·5... read more


Open pine and oak woodlands and brushy fields at 750–3050 m. Found on forest floor and in... read more

Food and feeding

Probably similar to C. montezumae, especially in use of Oxalis.


Virtually nothing known. Nesting season possibly Apr–Aug in Guatemala. Egg size 32·3 mm × 25·1 mm.


Apparently sedentary. Coveys of about a dozen birds reported.

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Considered Near Threatened until 2010. Uplisted to Vulnerable on account of projected rapid population decline due to growing demand for agricultural land, mining... read more

Recommended citation

Carroll, J.P., Sharpe, C.J., Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Ocellated Quail (Cyrtonyx ocellatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 February 2020).