Montezuma Quail

(Cyrtonyx montezuma)

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Scientific Information

Other Names: Harlequin Quail, Mearn's Quail, Massena Quail, Salle Quail, Fool's Quail

Subspecies: Madge and McGowan (2002) divided the species into 2 geographical groups; the Northern group C. m. mearnsi, C. m. montezumae and C. m. merriami are generally larger and have darker flanks and underparts spotted with white. The Southern group consists of C. m. rowleyi & C. m. sallei, are smaller with bluish-gray flanks and buff spots. There is debate on whether the groups should be considered separate species.

A close relative of the Montezuma Quail is the Ocellated Quail, Cyrtonyx ocellatus. They are found in southern Mexico to Honduras, range does not overlap Montezuma Quail. I do not believe that there are any in American or European aviaries. Ocellated Quail males are very similar to Montezuma males, but have little white spotting and the flanks are chestnut with black barring. Hens are paler and have buff shaft-streaks instead of the white of Montezuma hens.

Range: West-central Texas, Central New Mexico and Arizona in the US, south to Oaxaca, Mexico.

Habitat: Open woodlands, arid bushy grasslands.

Status in Wild: In the US, they are rather uncommon with localized populations. In Mexico, they are widespread, but believed to be declining due to habitat loss.

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1, Jack Lutes.


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