Tuxtla Quail-dove Zentrygon carrikeri


Justification of Red List Category
This species is Endangered owing to its very small range, which is now severely fragmented in four areas on three volcanoes, and has declined rapidly in response to extensive deforestation.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 250-999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend justification
The species's population is suspected to be declining rapidly, in line with continued habitat destruction.

Distribution and population

Zentrygon carrikeri is endemic to Sierra de los Tuxtlas in south-east Veracruz, Mexico (Howell and Webb 1995a). It presumably occurred throughout the sierra, but fragmentation of its habitat may have isolated populations in four areas on the main volcanoes, San Martín, San Martín Pajapan and Santa Marta. It was found to be fairly common in surveys between 1951 and 1962 (Andrle 1967) and is now considered fairly common to common in suitable habitat (Howell and Webb 1995a). However, there has been a rapid loss of such habitat (Dirzo and García 1992), indicating that the population has probably declined significantly.


It is partially terrestrial in the understorey of humid evergreen forest at elevations of 350 m-1,500 m (Howell and Webb 1995a).  In 2010-2011 it was recorded mainly in cloud forest but it does also inhabit tropical rainforest (Monterubio-Rico et al. 2016). The only recorded nest was found in secondary forest in mid-October and contained one egg (Andrle 1967).


Destruction of the species's habitat is presumed to take place for timber, cultivation and pasture. On Volcán San Martín, 84% of the original forest area was lost by 1986, with 56% lost between 1967 and 1986 (Dirzo and García 1992). In 1992, it was predicted that only 8.7% of original habitat, restricted to the most inaccessible tracts and protected areas, would remain by 2000 (Dirzo and García 1992). At that time, it appeared that similar habitat loss was taking place on Volcán Santa Marta (Dirzo and García 1992). It is unknown whether this prediction has been fulfilled, but it is clear that there has been extensive forest clearance in the Sierra de los Tuxtlas. Pressures on the species's habitat may be abating, or at least stabilising at present levels (R. Ortiz-Pulido in litt. 2008).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Prior to 2000 it occurred in two protected areas: Santa Marta Biosphere Reserve and Los Tuxtlas Biological Station. After 2000 the Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve was created which incorporated the previous reserves. However it is not clear if this new reserve is viable as a conservation tool to preserve this species. A small captive population is kept at Africam Safari Zoo, Pueblo City, Mexico (R. Ortiz-Pulido in litt. 2008). This species is on the watch list as part of the State of North America's Birds (North American Bird Conservation Initiative 2016).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out surveys to obtain a total population estimate for the species, and survey the Santa Marta Biosphere Reserve to determine the species's status within this protected area. Monitor population trends through regular surveys and develop a structured captive breeding programme. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation within its range. Expand existing protected areas, or designate new reserves, to cover more of the remaining forests in the sierra.


30 cm. Plump, ash-and-brown terrestrial pigeon. Light ashy-grey head and breast with white forecrown and black malar and loral stripes. Brown flanks and white belly. Purplish mantle becoming brown on lower back and rump. Brown wings and tail. Red legs. Similar spp. Ruddy Quail-dove G. montana is smaller, browner and lacks white face. Voice Three syllable hu w-wohw, repeated every three seconds.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Isherwood, I., Sharpe, C J, Taylor, J., Westrip, J.

Howell, S., Ortiz-Pulido, R.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Zentrygon carrikeri. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/10/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/10/2020.