Venezuelan Wood-quail Odontophorus columbianus


Justification of Red List category
This species qualifies as Near Threatened because it is restricted to a small range, within which habitat is lost and degraded slowly.

Population justification
The population size has not been quantified, but the species is thought to be common in protected areas (Carroll et al. 2020).

Trend justification
The population trend has not been investigated, but the species is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of hunting. Over three generations (14.3 years), 3% of tree cover is lost within the range (Global Forest Watch 2022, using Hansen et al. [2013] data and methods disclosed therein). The impact of hunting has not been quantified, but overall population declines are here tentatively placed in the band 1-9% over three generations.

Distribution and population

The species is endemic to the Cordillera de la Costa in north Venezuela.


It occurs in humid, montane forest and edge at elevations above 450 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). Little information is available on diet, however it is known to consume seeds, fruits, insects and worms (Carroll et al. 2020).


Deforestation and hunting are considered major threats (Carroll et al. 2020). There is still extensive forest cover within its range, but many areas are extensively degraded (Huber and Alarcón 1988, Global Forest Watch 2022). It is also threatened by hunting (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Carroll et al. 2020).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The species occurs in several protected areas, including San Esteban and Henri Pittier national parks.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey areas in Táchira along the border to Colombia to determine its presence or absence there. Quantify the population size. Research its ecology. Quantify the impact and extent of hunting. Monitor the population trend. Protect areas of suitable habitat within the range.


25-30 cm. Overall reddish-brown colouration with pale streaks on upperwing coverts; throat and chin white with black streaks. 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 congener. 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
Hermes, C.

Ashpole, J, Benstead, P., Capper, D., Pearman, M., Sharpe, C J & Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Odontophorus columbianus. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/venezuelan-wood-quail-odontophorus-columbianus on 24/02/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org on 24/02/2024.