Montezuma Quail

This species is found from Oaxaca north through the interior of Mexico to the mountains of central and southeastern Arizona, central and southwestern New Mexico, and west Texas. It is absent from deserts and the Río Balsas valley.

The Montezuma Quail is classified as Least Concern. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.

The Montezuma Quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae) is a stubby, secretive New World quail of Mexico and adjoining parts of the United States. It is also known as Mearns's Quail, the Harlequin Quail (for the male's striking pattern), and the Fool Quail (for its behavior). Contents - * 1 Range and habitat * 2 Description * 2. More

The Montezuma Quail eats insects, especially in summer, as well as plants. Particularly important plant foods are Oxalis and other bulbs as well as sedge (Cyperus esculentus and C. sphaerolpis) tubers, which it digs up. The holes, often at the bases of bushes and rocks, may be as much as 8 cm deep and are a good sign of the bird's presence. Crops sometimes contain bulbs of plants that have no above-ground growth at that season; how the birds find such bulbs is unknown. More

Montezuma Quail is a Mexican species of grassy pine-oak and pinyon-juniper woodland. It has been greatly reduced in numbers over the past century due to grazing impacts on habitat, loss of favorable habitat due to fire suppression, and hunting. Associated Species - Acorn Woodpecker, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Cassin's Kingbird (SC2), Hutton's Vireo, Bridled Titmouse (BC2), Black-throated Gray Warbler (SC2), Canyon Towhee, Black-chinned Sparrow (SC1). More

seemingly bold patterning of males, Montezuma Quail can be extremely difficult to detect, let alone census and study. American populations of this species are threatened by habitat degradation and destruction, and perhaps by increased hunting pressure. Identification Montezuma Quail are small, shy quail that are unmistakable on the rare occasions when they are seen. Adult males have a striking black-and-white harlequin head pattern, capped by a reddish-brown crest. Males have rich brown breasts, covered with heavy white dots. More

The strikingly marked Montezuma Quail is a bird of Mexican Mountains, reaching the United States only in southern Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas. More

Similar Species: A close relative of the Montezuma Quail is the Ocellated Quail, Cyrtonyx ocellatus. They are found in southern Mexico to Honduras, range does not overlap Montezuma Quail. I do not believe that there are any in American or European aviaries. Ocellated Quail males are very similar to Montezuma males, but have little white spotting and the flanks are chestnut with black barring. Hens are paler and have buff shaft-streaks instead of the white of Montezuma hens. More

The Montezuma Quail has a large range, estimated globally at 690,000 square kilometers. Native to the United States and Mexico, this bird prefers subtropical or tropical forest and shrubland ecosystems. The global population of this bird is estimated at 58,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Montezuma Quail is Least Concern. More

Montezuma quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae) are found primarily in Mexico along the Sierra Madre mountains, however, their range extends briefly into the southwestern United States. States that have populations of montezuma quail are Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Populations are scattered along mountain ranges at elevations of 1000 m and above in eastern and southeastern Arizona, extending into western and southern New Mexico. Texas has a few isolated populations in the western portion of the state at similar elevations. More

In fall, Montezuma Quail do not form large groups, as most American quail do. An average covey consists of eight birds, just parents and their offspring, and coveys bigger than 25 birds have been reported. At night, birds in a covey roost on southeast-facing slopes, gathered around a rock or tussock, facing outward. These birds are quite sedentary. A pair or covey typically forages within 50 m of the place where it foraged the day before. More

The Montezuma quail's striking markings come together in a most unusual way More

gentle, retiring, cryptic Montezuma Quail is probably the least-studied bird of the perennial grasslands and oak woodlands of the American Southwest. Although males have bright, contrasting plumage, they are almost always invisible in their grassland habitats. Individuals are often first detected as they leap straight up from the observer’s feet and fly in a brief, arching flight for 30 to 100 meters, then crash-land and tumble. More

Montezuma Quail immature male high resolution capture taken at Davis Mountains S.P., Texas, USA. More

In the ensuing twenty years, Montezuma quail have been conspicuously absent from the Chisos Mountains. Lingering over the last few sips of coffee, reluctant to leave the parade of birds appearing in the yard, I spy one, then two, then more scaled quail. One lone bird makes a tentative approach to water, the rest waiting under cover. Finally, all make the break and come to drink. Watching from the window, for a moment I see not the little “cottontops,” but rather the boldly patterned Harlequin. More

Retiring, cryptic, and difficult to detect, the Montezuma Quail is a bird of the perennial grasslands and oak woodlands of the American Southwest, where it is found in southern Arizona and New Mexico, with small and scattered populations in western Texas. The main part of its range is Mexico, where it is found throughout the western part of that country at elevations of 1000-3000 m. Forming coveys during the non-breeding season, it is resident throughout its range. More

In the spring of 2005, sightings of the Montezuma quail were documented in the Chisos Mountains for the first time since a reintroduction attempt over thirty years ago. This was the first confirmed sighting in the park since a release in Pine Canyon in the early 1970’s. A Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist who has studied them in different parts of the U.S. was the first to sight a specimen within the park. Research is ongoing to learn more about the extent of this population. More

Montezuma Quail Male Head Illustration Head * Bill Shape: All-purpose * Eye Color: Brown. * Head Pattern: Unique pattern * Crown Color: Black and white striped. * Forehead Color: Black and white striped. * Nape Color: Yellow-brown * Throat Color: Black and white striped. More

The Montezuma Quail is usually found in Mexico along with other adjoining states of America. The Quail has quite a few names such as the Mearn's Quail, the Harlequain Quail for the striking male pattern it has and it is also called a Fool Quail, for its fool like behavior. More

Look for small groups of Montezuma Quail in the nearby grasslands. Take a drive to Lake Roberts and the Cliff Dwellings to see Bald and Golden Eagles. Osprey are sited on the lake as well as a variety of ducks; American Coots, Common Loons, Canvasbacks, Redheads, Clark's and Western Grebes as well as Common Goldeneye, Ruddy Ducks, Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Buffleheads, Northern Shovelers, Green-Winged Teal and Cinnamon Teal, and Gadwall. More

Order : Galliformes
Family : Odontophoridae
Genus : Cyrtonyx
Species : montezumae
Authority : (Vigors, 1830)