Chestnut Wood-quail (Odontophorus hyperythrus): revise global status?

BirdLife species factsheet for Chestnut Wood-quail

Chestnut Wood-quail (Odontophorus hyperythrus) is endemic to Colombia, where it occurs in the Western and Central Andes at elevations of 1,600-2,800 m. The species inhabits montane evergreen forest, secondary growth and edge habitat, but is occasionally also found in coffee plantations with shade trees (Hilty and Brown 1986, Carroll 1994). Population surveys report densities of 0.13-0.4 groups per ha (Franco et al. 2006, Fierro-Calderón et al. 2009). Assuming that each group consists of at least two mature individuals and further precautionarily assuming that around 10% of the mapped range is occupied (i.e. 10% of 60,500 km2), the total population may number 157,300-484,000 mature individuals, rounded here to 150,000-500,000 mature individuals.

The species is threatened by habitat loss, and large tracts of forest within the range have already been converted and logged for pastures and agricultural plantations (Wege and Long 1995). Further threats include hunting and predation by dogs (McGowan et al. 1995, Franco et al. 2006).

Chestnut Wood-quail has been considered Near Threatened, approaching the threshold for listing as threatened under Criteria B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v); C2a(i) (BirdLife International 2020). However, a re-assessment of the population size and range suggests that the species may warrant a change in its Red List status (see also Renjifo et al. 2014). Therefore, we have fully reviewed the species here against all criteria.

Criterion A – The population trend has not been assessed directly. Forest loss over the past three generations (14.4 years; Bird et al. 2020)* has been low within the range (potentially <5%; Tracewski et al. 2016, Global Forest Watch 2020). The species is further threatened by hunting and dog predation; hence, the rate of population decline may be larger than the rate of forest loss. Despite this, it is unlikely that the overall rate of population decline exceeds 10% over three generations. Chestnut Wood-quail therefore qualifies as Least Concern under Criterion A.

Criterion B – The Extent of Occurrence (EOO) for this species is 138,000 km2. This is too large to meet the threshold for Vulnerable under Criterion B1, and Chestnut Wood-quail may be listed as Least Concern under this criterion. The Area of Occupancy (AOO) has not been quantified following IUCN Guidelines (IUCN Standards and Petitions Committee 2019), and therefore the species cannot be assessed against Criterion B2.

Criterion C – The global population size is too large to warrant listing as threatened under this criterion, and therefore Chestnut Wood-quail is considered Least Concern under Criterion C.

Criterion D – The global population size and range are too large to warrant listing as threatened under this criterion, and therefore Chestnut Wood-quail is considered Least Concern under Criterion D.

Criterion E – To the best of our knowledge, there has been no quantitative analysis of extinction risk conducted for this species. Therefore, it cannot be assessed against this criterion.

Therefore, it is suggested that Chestnut Wood-quail (Odontophorus hyperythrus) be listed as Least Concern.We welcome any comments to the proposed listing.

Please note that this topic is not designed to be a general discussion about the ecology of the species, rather a discussion of the species’s Red List status. Therefore, please make sure your comments are relevant to the species’s Red List status and the information requested. By submitting a comment, you confirm that you agree to the Comment Policy.

*Bird generation lengths are estimated using the methodology of Bird et al. (2020), as applied to parameter values updated for use in each IUCN Red List for birds reassessment cycle. Values used for the current assessment are available on request. We encourage people to contact us with additional or improved values for the following parameters; adult survival (true survival accounting for dispersal derived from an apparently stable population); mean age at first breeding; and maximum longevity (i.e. the biological maximum, hence values from captive individuals are acceptable).

An information booklet on the Red List Categories and Criteria can be downloaded here and the Red List Criteria Summary Sheet can be downloaded here. Detailed guidance on IUCN Red List terms and definitions and the application of the Red List Categories and Criteria can be downloaded here.


Bird, J. P.; Martin, R.; Akçakaya, H. R.; Gilroy, J.; Burfield, I. J.; Garnett, S.; Symes, A.; Taylor, J.; Şekercioğlu, Ç. H.; Butchart, S. H. 2020. Generation lengths of the world’s birds and their implications for extinction risk. Conservation Biology online first view.

BirdLife International. 2020. Species factsheet: Odontophorus hyperythrus. (Accessed 2 April 2020).

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.

Franco, P.; Fierro-Calderón, K.; Kattan, G. 2006. Population densities and home range sizes of the Chestnut Wood-quail. Journal of Field Ornithology 77(1): 85-90.

Global Forest Watch. 2020. Interactive Forest Change Mapping Tool. (Accessed 2 April 2020).

Hilty, S. L.; Brown, W. L. 1986. A guide to the birds of Colombia. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

IUCN Standards and Petitions Committee. 2019. Guidelines for using the IUCN Red List Categoreis and Criteria. Version 14.

McGowan, P. J. K.; Dowell, S. D.; Carroll, J. P.; Aebischer, N. J. 1995. Partridges, quails, francolins, snowcocks and guineafowl: status survey and conservation action plan 1995-1999. International Union for Nature Conservation and Natural Resources, Cambridge, U.K.

Renjifo, L. M.; Gomez, M. F.; Velasquez-Tibata, J.; Amaya-Villarreal, A. M.; Kattan, G. H.; Amaya-Espinel, J. D.; Burbano-Giron, J. 2014. Libro rojo de aves de Colombia, Volumen I: bosques humedos de los Andes y la costa Pacifica. Editorial Pontificia Universidad Javeriana e Instituto Alexander von Humboldt, Bogota D.C., Colombia.

Tracewski, Ł.; Butchart, S. H. M.; Di Marco, M.; Ficetola, G. F.; Rondinini, C.; Symes, A.; Wheatley, H.; Beresford, A. E.; Buchanan, G. M. 2016. Toward quantification of the impact of 21st-century deforestation on the extinction risk of terrestrial vertebrates. Conservation Biology 30: 1070-1079.

Wege, D. C.; Long, A. J. 1995. Key Areas for threatened birds in the Neotropics. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

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3 Responses to Chestnut Wood-quail (Odontophorus hyperythrus): revise global status?

  1. Red List Team (BirdLife International) says:

    Global Forest Change data on tree cover loss up to 2019 have now been released and made available via Global Forest Watch. Based on these data, over three generations (14.4 years) approximately 3.8% of tree cover with 75% canopy cover was lost from within the species’s range (Global Forest Watch 2020). This does not affect the above assessment under Criterion A.

  2. Red List Team (BirdLife International) says:

    The window for consultation is now closed. We will analyse and interpret the new information and post a preliminary decision on this species’s Red List status on this page in early July.

    Thank you,
    BirdLife Red List Team

  3. Red List Team (BirdLife International) says:

    Preliminary proposal
    Based on available information, our preliminary proposal for the 2020 Red List would be to adopt the proposed classification outlined in the initial forum discussion.
    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline in mid-July, after which the recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.
    Please note that we will then only post final recommended categorisations on forum discussions where these differ from those in the initial proposal.
    The final 2020 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in December 2020/January 2021, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

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