Montezuma Quail

ID Info
Silhouette Game BirdsGame Birds
Montezuma QuailCyrtonyx montezumae
  • ORDER: Galliformes
  • FAMILY: Odontophoridae

Basic Description

Despite the male's extravagant stripes, streaks, and polka dots, the Montezuma Quail is a phantom of a bird that hides in mountain grasslands and oak woodlands of Mexico, its range barely creeping into the southwestern U.S. The Montezuma Quail is something of a homebody, moving as little as 150 feet per day as it digs for tubers, acorns, and insects under the cover of dense native grasses. These birds travel in pairs or in small family groups, rarely forming large coveys.

More ID Info
image of range map for Montezuma QuailRange map provided by Birds of the WorldExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Montezuma Quail are not rare, but they may seem that way. Unlike other quail, they spend very little time in the open, and often your first encounter with them is as a ball of feathers that explodes nearly underfoot and then flies off out of view. Look for them in early morning and very late afternoon, when these birds are most likely to be on the move and may cross paths or quiet dirt roads.

Other Names

  • Colín de Moctezuma (Spanish)
  • Colin arlequin (French)
  • Cool Facts