Montezuma Quail

Cyrtonyx montezumae




New World Quail (Odontophoridae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White or cream

Number of Eggs:

6 - 14

Incubation Days:

24 - 26

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground, hidden by vegatation.

Nest Material:

Dry grasses, leaves, and stems.


Most do not migrate



Montezuma Quail: Odd looking, plump little quail with short tail, complexly buff-barred and streaked dark upperparts, and heavily white spotted dark underparts divided by a wide rufous-brown stripe from breast to tail. Face is boldly patterned black and white; head has a rounded light brown crest. Female is brown mottled overall with tiny white streaks. Head markings are less distinct. Juvenile resembles female but is paler with dark bars with dark bars.

Range and Habitat

Montezuma Quail: Ranges from southern Mexico, north to Arizona and New Mexico. Resident locally in the Mogollon and Sacramento highlands. Its northern limits are the San Francisco, Gallo, Datil, Magdalena, Ladron, Capitan, and Guadalupe range. Occurs across the Mogollon Rim, in the Mogollon, Mimbres, and Burro Mountains. Prefers open oak, pine-oak, or pinyon-juniper woodland and dense shrubs.

Breeding and Nesting

Montezuma Quail: Builds nest on ground in a variety of grasslands and woodlands in semiarid areas, sometimes constructs a woven canopy of dried plant parts over the nest. Both parents incubate the six to fourteen white or cream eggs for 24 to 26 days. Chicks leave nest immediately after hatching and begin foraging with adults, can make first short flights at 5 weeks.

Foraging and Feeding

Montezuma Quail: Feeds on hillsides with dense cover, looking for seeds, underground tubers, and acorns.

Readily Eats

Cracked Corn


Montezuma Quail: Loud quavering whistle.

Similar Species

Montezuma Quail: Male Northern Bobwhite has a simpler facial pattern and lacks chestnut belly. Female Northern Bobwhite has orangish face and eyebrow.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
Tufts of feathers on the head of the bird.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X