Dark-backed wood quail


Dark-backed wood quail
Dark-backed wood quail (Odontophorus melanonotus).jpg
In Mindo, Ecuador
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Odontophoridae
Genus: Odontophorus
O. melanonotus
Binomial name
Odontophorus melanonotus
Gould, 1860
Odontophorus melanonotus map.svg

The dark-backed wood quail (Odontophorus melanonotus) is a bird species in the family Odontophoridae, the New World quail. It is found in Colombia and Ecuador.[2]

Taxonomy and systematics

The dark-backed wood quail is one of 15 species in the genus Odontophorus. Within the genus, it is part of the chestnut wood quail species complex. At various times it has been proposed or considered as conspecific with chestnut wood quail (O. hyperythrus), rufous-fronted wood quail (O. erythrops), and rufous-breasted wood quail (O. speciosus).[3][4]

The generic name Odontophorus is from the Greek odontophoros, meaning tooth-bearing. The specific epithet melanonotus is from the Greek melas, meaning black, and notus, meaning backed.[5]

The species is monotypic.[2]


The dark-backed wood quail is 23 to 28 cm (9.1 to 11.0 in) long. Both males and females weigh about 322 g (11.4 oz). Adults of both sexes are overall brownish black with fine chestnut vermiculation. The throat and breast are reddish chestnut. The juvenile is similarly colored but duller overall.[4]

Distribution and habitat

The dark-backed wood quail is found in the Andes from southern Colombia's Nariño Department south to Cotopaxi Province in Ecuador. It inhabits primary and secondary tropical forest in the fairly narrow altitudinal band between 1,100 and 2,200 m (3,600 and 7,200 ft). Though primarily terrestrial, it roosts above ground in trees.[4]



The dark-backed wood quail forages in groups of up to 10 birds seeking terrestrial invertebrates and fruit.[4]


Almost nothing is known about the dark-backed wood quail's breeding phenology. Observations of recently hatched chicks and dependent young in many different months indicate a long breeding season or possibly two of them.[4]


Dickcissel male perched on a metal pole singing, with neck stretched and beak open.

Songs and calls

Listen to dark-backed wood quail on xeno-canto

The dark-backed wood quail's advertising song is a duet, "a fast rollicking 'koreewow-koreewow-koreewow...'" and calls include "soft whistles and mellow rolling notes."[4]


The IUCN has assessed the dark-backed wood quail as vulnerable. "This species has a small and fragmented range, with recent records from few sites. Available habitat, and presumably the population, is declining."[1]


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2016). "Dark-backed Wood-quail Odontophorus melanonotus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  2. ^ a b Gill, F.; Donsker, D.; Rasmussen, P. (July 2021). "IOC World Bird List (v 11.2)". Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  3. ^ Madge, Steve; Phil, MacGowan (2010). Pheasants, Partridges, and Grouse: Including buttonquails, sandgrouse, and allies. London, United Kingdom: Christopher Helm. p. 401. ISBN 978-1-4081-3565-5.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Carroll, J. P., G. M. Kirwan, and P. F. D. Boesman (2020). Dark-backed Wood-Quail (Odontophorus melanonotus), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.dbwqua1.01 retrieved September 12, 2021
  5. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. Christopher Helm. pp. 247, 280. ISBN 978-1-4081-3326-2.

External links

  • BirdLife International Species Factsheet.