Family New World Quails (Odontophoridae)

Near Threatened

Spot-breasted Quail (Cyrtonyx sallei)


French: Colin de Sallé German: Fleckbrustwachtel Spanish: Colín de Oaxaca
Other common names: Salle's Quail (sallei)

Cyrtonyx sallei

J. P. Verreaux

, 1859,

Mexico = Guerrero


May be conspecific with C. ocellatus. Here separated also from C. montezumae on account of bronzy-chestnut vs white lower flank spots (3), rather broad bronzy-brown vs narrow buff long streaks and narrow vs broad black bars on wing-coverts (2), white spots on upper breast sides and flanks smaller, duller and on paler grey (2), and paler chestnut mid-breast to belly (ns[1]); differs from ocellatus in white, not pale tan, spots on upper breast sides and flanks (2), chestnut vs buff-tan top to central stripe down underparts (3), and black-edged pale tan streaks vs rich chestnut long streaks on lower upperparts (2). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. s. sallei J. P. Verreaux, 1859 – S Michoacán, Guerrero and W Oaxaca, in S Mexico.
  • C. s. rowleyi A. R. Phillips, 1966 – C Oaxaca (Sierra de Miahuatlán), in S Mexico.
  • Descriptive notes

    20–22 cm. Rotund, ground-dwelling quail with a striking black-and-white face pattern. Upperparts are mostly grey-brown with black barring, each scapular and wing-covert also... read more


    Presumably similar to that of C. montezumae, although no documented evidence: advertising... read more


    Open oak and pine woodlands, thick brush and grassland, between 1060 m and 3000 m.

    Food and feeding

    Feeds mainly on bulbs and tubers during dry season and invertebrates during wet season; apparently does not require standing water (for... read more


    Little information. Season probably from Mar onwards. Domed nest with side entrance, constructed from grasses and leaves, roof made from,... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Although poorly known, this newly split species, found in S Michoacán, Guerrero and W Oaxaca, in S Mexico,... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Christie, D.A. & Boesman, P. (2020). Spot-breasted Quail (Cyrtonyx sallei). 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).