Quails of the New World (Family: Odontophoridae)

New World Quails are shy, ground-dwelling birds with camouflage plumage and lots of personality.

September 25, 2023

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Quails of the New World (Family: Odontophoridae)


This episode is all about birds in the family Odontophoridae. These are the New World quails.

Why is the family Odontophoridae referred to as the family of "New World" quails?

Because there’s a whole mess of birds we call quails that live in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. But those birds all belong to the pheasant family, Phasianidae.

New World quails are shy birds ground-dwelling birds that walk or run around in the daytime, looking for tidbits of food in the leaf litter.

If they sense any kind of stranger danger, they hunker down and hide in bushes or other vegetation. Their first instinct is to sit still and rely on their camouflage, rather than to fly away.

These birds may be shy around strangers, but they’re generally very social with members of their own kind. They’re gregarious little buggers.

In this episode, I go into detail about what New World quails look and sound like, about their diversity, and about the ways they live their lives.

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Research Citations


Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus). Photo by Rolf Nussbaumer/Adobe.
Montezuma Quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae). Public Domain image.
Long-tailed Wood-Partridge (Dendrortyx macroura). Photo by reximiliano/iNaturalist.
Mountain Quail (Oreortyx picta). Photo by bigsam/iNaturalist.
California Quail (Callipepla californica). Photo by Becky Matsubara/Flickr.
Spotted Wood-Quail (Odontophorus guttatus). Photo by chloe_and_trevor/iNaturalist.
Chestnut Wood-Quail (Odontophorus hyperythrus). Photo by Milan/Adobe.
Stone Partridge (Ptilopachus pretrosus). Photo by AGAMI/Adobe.


  • Long-tailed Wood Partridge sounds (Xeno Canto recording XC735857)
  • Long-tailed Wood Partridge sounds (Xeno Canto recording XC747537)
  • Chestnut Wood-Quail sounds (Xeno Canto recording XC302764)
  • Northern Bobwhite sounds (Xeno Canto recording XC714443)
  • Black-fronted Wood-Quail sounds (Xeno Canto recording XC353226)
  • Rufous-breasted Wood-Quail sounds (Xeno Canto recording XC251280)
  • California Quail sounds (Xeno Canto recording XC297459)
  • California Quail sounds (Xeno Canto recording XC373587)
  • California Quail sounds (Xeno Canto recording XC21454)
  • Mountain Quail sounds (Xeno Canto recording XC226932)
  • Stone Partridge sounds (Xeno Canto recording XC719464)
  • Spotted Wood-Quail sounds (Xeno Canto recording XC271462)

This work by Ivan Phillipsen is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

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