Ocellated Quail Cyrtonyx ocellatus


Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red List criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - A2cd

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2020 Vulnerable A2cd
2016 Vulnerable A3cd
2012 Vulnerable A3cd
2010 Vulnerable A3c,d
2008 Near Threatened B1a+b(i,ii,iii,iv,v)
2004 Near Threatened
2000 Lower Risk/Near Threatened
1994 Lower Risk/Near Threatened
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency high
Land-mass type Land-mass type - continent
Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 233,000 medium
Severely fragmented? no -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Number of mature individuals 1500-7000 medium estimated 2010
Population trend decreasing medium inferred 2000-2010
Generation length (years) 2.24 - - -

Population justification: Although a full population census is yet to be completed, the species is thought to be rare at all known sites in Guatemala, there are few recent records from Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua, and no recent records from El Salvador. Considering this, the population is thought to hold fewer than 10,000 individuals (K. Eisermann in litt. 2010), hence is best placed in the band 2,500-9,999 individuals, which roughly equates to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification: This species is thought to have undergone a moderately rapid decline in the past decade, largely through the severe impacts of widespread human-induced habitat alteration and overhunting (R. Gallardo et al. 2012); forest loss within the species's range currently totals ~3% per decade (Tracewski et al. 2016). The rate of decline was suspected to total between 30-49% during the past 10 years as habitat loss and hunting increased throughout its stronghold of Guatemala as a result of human population increases and opencast mining (Eitniear and Eisermann 2009; K. Eisermann in litt. 2010).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
El Salvador extant native yes
Guatemala extant native yes
Honduras extant native yes
Mexico extant native yes
Nicaragua extant native yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Guatemala Yalijux
Guatemala Tacana - Tajumulco
Nicaragua Dipilto-Jalapa Mountain Range
Mexico Cerros de Chalchihuitán
Honduras Güisayote
Honduras Celaque
Honduras Sierra de Omoa - Cusuco
Honduras La Tigra
Honduras Azul Meambar
Honduras Montaña de Yoro
Honduras Sierra de Agalta
Honduras La Muralla
Honduras Valle de Agalta

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane major resident
Shrubland Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude suitable resident
Altitude 750 - 3050 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Small-holder farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching - Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 5
Species mortality
Energy production & mining Mining & quarrying Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Human intrusions & disturbance Work & other activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Species disturbance, Reduced reproductive success
Natural system modifications Fire & fire suppression - Trend Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - non-trivial recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - non-trivial recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Cyrtonyx ocellatus. Downloaded from on 02/10/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 02/10/2023.