Ocellated Quail Cyrtonyx ocellatus

  • Order: Galliformes
  • Family: Odontophoridae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Jack C. Eitniear, Claudia I. Rodríguez-Flores, Carlos A. Soberanes-González, and Marîa del Coro Arizmendi



The strong tarsi and toes are used to dig for tubers and roots. Consumption of animal matter increases during the breeding season, and this is the main food for recently hatched chicks.

Ocellated Quail is entirely terrestrial (even at night). This quail is shy and elusive, often remaining hidden in vegetation.

Ocellated Quail is reluctant to fly, and usually seeks to avoid detection by crouching to the ground. Flushes at very short range, and makes only short and direct flights, usually with deep fast wingbeats interspersed with short glides.


Little information available on Ocellated Quail, but pairs likely require 1-2 ha, similar to the closely related Montezuma Quail (C. montezumae) (Stromberg 2000).

Social and interspecific behavior

Ocellated Quail is a gregarious species, often in groups of up to 12 individuals.


Roadkilled specimen found in Honduras indicates that some mortality is due to such collisions. As is the case with the closely related Montezuma Quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae), hawks likely are major predators of adults. Eggs and chicks are vulnerable to predation by terrestrial mammals and reptiles.

Recommended Citation

Eitniear, J. C., C. I. Rodríguez-Flores, C. A. Soberanes-González, and M. d. C. Arizmendi (2014). Ocellated Quail (Cyrtonyx ocellatus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.ocequa1.01