Family Guans, Chachalacas, Curassows (Cracidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-bellied Chachalaca (Ortalis wagleri)


French: Ortalide à ventre marron German: Rotbauchguan Spanish: Chachalaca ventricastaña

Ortalida Wagleri

G. R. Gray

, 1867,

California and Mexico


Closely related to O. poliocephala, of which formerly considered a race. A few cases of hybridization between the two in NW Jalisco were interpreted as proof of a narrow zone of intergradation in W Jalisco and W Colima (where intermediates were even considered a different race, lajuelae), but hybridization may have resulted from escapes of imported O. poliocephala; no other indication of contact between the two taxa, and existing evidence deemed insufficient for treating them as conspecific#R. Somewhat paler population of Sonora sometimes treated as race griseiceps, but probably the product of clinal variation#R. Monotypic.


W Mexico from S Sonora S to NW Jalisco.

Descriptive notes

62–67 cm; 834 g. Most richly coloured Ortalis; differs from O. poliocephala in having ventral region and tail tips rich chestnut, whereas O.... read more


A loud, rhythmic, 4–5-syllable, chorus “kirr-i-i-kr”, “chrr-i-k-rr”... read more


Tropical deciduous and semi-deciduous forests and thorn forest in lowlands. Also sometimes in palm... read more

Food and feeding

Fruits of trees; forages in groups of up to ten.


Peak of nesting period apparently Jun in S Sinaloa, with laying also in May and Jul. One nest was 1 m above ground in a small spiny tree c... read more


No information available, but presumably sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Species is legally hunted. Occurs in a variety of habitats, including some severely altered by man, and therefore not considered of... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Rufous-bellied Chachalaca (Ortalis wagleri). 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 30 March 2020).