Rufous-bellied Chachalaca Ortalis wagleri


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
Partners in Flight estimate the total population to number 50,000-499,999 individuals (A. Panjabi in litt. 2008).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be declining (Strahl et al. 1994)

Distribution and population

This species occurs in south Sonora, Sinaloa, north-west Durango, west Nayarit and north-west Jalisco, in north-west Mexico (Sibley and Monroe 1990).


The species is found in a variety of habitats, included some severely altered by humans (del Hoyo et al. 1994). It is most common in tropical dry deciduous thorn forest, but also occurs in semi-deciduous forest, secondary growth, palm plantations and dense mangroves (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Stattersfield et al. 1998). Although seldom found at elevations above 1,300 m (del Hoyo et al. 1994), it occasionally occurs at up to 2,000 m. In south Sinaloa nesting apparently peaks in June, with laying also in May and July. One nest was 1 m above ground in a small spiny tree c.3-5 m tall, and three eggs are usually laid. It feeds on the fruits of trees (del Hoyo et al. 1994).


Much of the west Mexican coastal plain is densely populated and consequently its lower elevational dry forests have been heavily degraded and fragmented (Strahl et al. 1994, Stattersfield et al. 1998). However, its tolerance of a variety of habitats (including those that have been degraded) suggests that it is not of immediate conservation concern (del Hoyo et al. 1994). It is also hunted for food (Strahl et al. 1994), a threat that is presumably compounded by the continued fragmentation of its habitat. The dry forests of western Mexico have been largely ignored as a key habitat for biodiversity conservation, with no comprehensive plan to conserve them (Ceballos and García 1995). There are few protected areas within its range.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
A new Biosphere Reserve, Chamela-Cuixmala (covering 131 km²), was decreed in 1994 to help safeguard dry forest habitats (Stattersfield et al. 1998).


Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Harding, M., Butchart, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Ortalis wagleri. Downloaded from on 16/06/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 16/06/2019.