The Rufous-breasted Wood-Quail is found in lowland and foothill forests on the east side of the Andes in Ecuador and Peru to northern Bolivia. The species is principally recorded between 800 and 2000 m, but it locally ranges higher than this in Peru. Despite its wide range, the Rufous-breasted Wood-Quail appears to be rare and somewhat local in many areas, and has undoubtedly declined due to deforestation and hunting pressure Like all wood-quails, given good views, it is a stunningly beautiful and intricately plumaged bird. Three subspecies are recognised, of which the two southerly taxa have the entire lower body rufous, whereas the more northerly ranging O. s. soederstroemii has the rufous restricted to the breast, with the remainder of the underparts gray. Both subspecies and sexes possess an obvious pale superciliary stripe.