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Venezuelan Wood-quail Odontophorus columbianus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species qualifies as Near Threatened because it has a small extent of occurrence within which it is presumed to be declining owing to habitat loss and hunting pressure; it therefore almost meets the requirements for listing as threatened under criterion B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv). Further information on the number of locations where it occurs may lead to it being uplisted to Vulnerable.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

25-30 cm. Overall reddish-brown colouration with pale streaks on upperwing coverts; throat and chin white with black streaks (Carroll et al. 2015). Large white droplets on breast, belly and flanks. Bill black, legs dark grey and irides dark brown. Female lacks pale streaks on closed wing and has much reduced white droplets on plainer brown underparts. Juvenile shows lesser development of pale streaks and white spots; bill orange. Similar spp. No geographical overlap with any congeneric. Voice Advertising call a rapidly repeated antiphonal duet which lasts up to 10 seconds and is usually given at dawn although irregularly during morning.

Distribution and population
The species is endemic to north and west-central Venezuela (south-west Táchira along the río Chiquito and the Cordillera de la Costa from Carabobo to west Miranda). There is little information on its population but it could number under 10,000 individuals (del Hoyo et al. 1994).

Population justification
The population may number under 10,000 birds, and so is placed in the band 2,500-9,999 individuals. This equates to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of hunting.

It occurs in humid, montane forest and edge at elevations of 800-2,400 m (Meyer de Schauensee and Phelps 1978, Carroll 1994, Parker et al. 1996). Foraging birds appear to favour areas with a high frequency of non-palm monocotyledons, high vertical foliage density, and a low frequency of palms (Bactris spp.) (Bonaccorso and Barreto 2002). Observed roosting above ground on palm fronds (Carroll et al. 2015). Little information is available on diet, however it is known to consume seeds, fruits, insects and worms (Carroll et al. 2015).

Deforestation, hunting and urbanization are considered major threats (Carroll et al. 2015). There is still extensive forest cover within its range in parts of the Cordillera de la Costa Central, but habitat loss has been severe around Caracas, and many other areas have been extensively degraded (Huber and Alarcón 1988). In Táchira, there is pristine forest along the río Chiquito, but deforestation for intensive crop cultivation and pastureland is progressing in adjacent areas (M. Pearman in litt. 1995). It may also be threatened by hunting (del Hoyo et al. 1994).

Conservation Actions Underway
Found in the Cordillera de la Costa Central EBA and Colombian East Andes EBA (Carroll et al. 2015). Much of its distribution falls within well-established protected areas: El Tamá, San Esteban, Henri Pittier, Macarao, El Avila and Guatopo National Parks, and Pico Codazzi Nature Monument (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2011, Carroll et al. 2015). The species is considered Near Threatened in Venezuela (Carroll et al. 2015).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey populations at known sites. Search for the species in areas of potentially suitable habitat. Effectively protect national parks where the species occurs.

Bonaccorso, E.; Barreto, G. R. 2002. Microhabitat use by foraging Venezuelan Wood-Quails (Odontophorus columbianus). Journal of Field Ornithology 73: 318-322.

Carroll, J. P. 1994. Odontophoridae (New World Quails). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. (ed.), Handbook of the birds of the world, pp. 412-433. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Carroll, J.P., Kirwan, G.M. and Sharpe, C.J. 2015. Venezuelan Wood-quail (Odontophorus columbianus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. and de Juana, E. (eds), Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive, Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1994. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Huber, O.; Alarcón, C. 1988. Mapa de la vegetación de Venezuela. Ministério del Ambiente y de los Recursos Naturales Renovables (División de Vegetación) and Nature Conservancy, Caracas.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Meyer de Schauensee, R.; Phelps, W. H. 1978. A guide to the birds of Venezuela. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Parker, T. A.; Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W. 1996. Ecological and distributional databases. In: Stotz, D.F.; Fitzpatrick, J.W.; Parker, T.A.; Moskovits, D.K. (ed.), Neotropical bird ecology and conservation, pp. 113-436. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A. & Ashpole, J

Pearman, M. & Sharpe, C J

IUCN Red List evaluators
Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Odontophorus columbianus. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Odontophoridae (New World quails)
Species name author (Gould, 1850)
Population size 1500-7000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 9,400 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species