Venezuelan Wood-quail Odontophorus columbianus


Justification of Red List Category
This species qualifies as Near Threatened because it has a small extent of occurrence within which it is presumed to be declining owing to habitat loss and hunting pressure; it therefore almost meets the requirements for listing as threatened under criterion B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv). Further information on the number of locations where it occurs may lead to it being uplisted to Vulnerable.

Population justification
The population may number under 10,000 birds, and so is placed in the band 2,500-9,999 individuals. This equates to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of hunting.

Distribution and population

The species is endemic to north and west-central Venezuela (south-west Táchira along the río Chiquito and the Cordillera de la Costa from Carabobo to west Miranda). There is little information on its population but it could number under 10,000 individuals (del Hoyo et al. 1994).


It occurs in humid, montane forest and edge at elevations of 800-2,400 m (Meyer de Schauensee and Phelps 1978, Carroll 1994, Parker et al. 1996). Foraging birds appear to favour areas with a high frequency of non-palm monocotyledons, high vertical foliage density, and a low frequency of palms (Bactris spp.) (Bonaccorso and Barreto 2002). Observed roosting above ground on palm fronds (Carroll et al. 2015). Little information is available on diet, however it is known to consume seeds, fruits, insects and worms (Carroll et al. 2015).


Deforestation, hunting and urbanization are considered major threats (Carroll et al. 2015). There is still extensive forest cover within its range in parts of the Cordillera de la Costa Central, but habitat loss has been severe around Caracas, and many other areas have been extensively degraded (Huber and Alarcón 1988). In Táchira, there is pristine forest along the río Chiquito, but deforestation for intensive crop cultivation and pastureland is progressing in adjacent areas (M. Pearman in litt. 1995). It may also be threatened by hunting (del Hoyo et al. 1994).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Found in the Cordillera de la Costa Central EBA and Colombian East Andes EBA (Carroll et al. 2015). Much of its distribution falls within well-established protected areas: El Tamá, San Esteban, Henri Pittier, Macarao, El Avila and Guatopo National Parks, and Pico Codazzi Nature Monument (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2011, Carroll et al. 2015). The species is considered Near Threatened in Venezuela (Carroll et al. 2015).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey populations at known sites. Search for the species in areas of potentially suitable habitat. Effectively protect national parks where the species occurs.


25-30 cm. Overall reddish-brown colouration with pale streaks on upperwing coverts; throat and chin white with black streaks (Carroll et al. 2015). Large white droplets on breast, belly and flanks. Bill black, legs dark grey and irides dark brown. Female lacks pale streaks on closed wing and has much reduced white droplets on plainer brown underparts. Juvenile shows lesser development of pale streaks and white spots; bill orange. Similar spp. No geographical overlap with any congeneric. Voice Advertising call a rapidly repeated antiphonal duet which lasts up to 10 seconds and is usually given at dawn although irregularly during morning.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A. & Ashpole, J

Pearman, M. & Sharpe, C J

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Odontophorus columbianus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 04/02/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 04/02/2023.