Birda Logo
Species Guide

Marbled Wood Quail

Odontophorus gujanensis

The Marbled Wood Quail, known scientifically as Odontophorus gujanensis, is a member of the New World quail family. This bird is a denizen of the forest floor, where its cryptic plumage blends seamlessly with the leaf litter. Adults typically measure between 23 and 29 centimeters in length, sporting a robust, dark bill and bluish-grey legs and feet. The eye is complemented by brown iris and surrounded by a ring of orange or red bare skin. Both sexes share a similar appearance, with reddish-brown hues adorning the front of the crown and cheeks, and a short, ruffled crest atop their heads. The plumage is a tapestry of greyish-brown, brown, and black, with vermiculations and indistinct paler spotting on the rump and upper-tail coverts. The underparts are a muted brown with subtle buff and darker brown barring.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify the Marbled Wood Quail, look for the reddish-brown front of the crown and cheeks, and the distinctive short, loose crest. The bird's vermiculated feathers and the indistinct spotting on the rump are also key characteristics. Juveniles can be recognized by their reddish-orange bills and non-vermiculated, reddish-brown crests.


This species thrives in the undergrowth of subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and cloud forests. It is a ground-dwelling bird that prefers the dense cover provided by these environments.


The Marbled Wood Quail boasts an extensive range across Central and South America, from Costa Rica and Panama, through Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, the Guianas, and into Brazil. It is found at varying elevations, up to 900 meters in Ecuador, and 1,500 meters in Colombia and Venezuela.


An elusive creature, the Marbled Wood Quail is more often heard than seen, with its distinctive calls echoing at dawn and dusk. It forages in small groups, scouring the leaf litter for invertebrates and fallen fruits. When disturbed, it prefers to retreat on foot but can take flight if necessary. Nesting typically occurs at the base of trees, where a shallow scrape is concealed under dead leaves.

Song & Calls

The calls of the Marbled Wood Quail are a reliable indicator of its presence, particularly during the crepuscular hours. These vocalizations are a key aspect of its behavior and ecology.


Breeding habits include nesting at the foot of trees in a shallow scrape, covered by a canopy of dead leaves. The clutch usually consists of around four white eggs, which may be spotted with brown. The breeding season varies depending on the location.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Marbled Wood Quail consists of invertebrates and fallen fruits, which they forage for in the leaf litter of their forest habitat.

Conservation status

Despite being adaptable to secondary growth forests, the Marbled Wood Quail faces threats from habitat clearance for cattle grazing and soybean cultivation in the Amazon basin. The species is currently classified as "Near Threatened," with an expected population decline of 25 to 30% over the next three generations due to deforestation and increased hunting facilitated by expanding road networks.

App logo
Birda is a birdwatching app and community aimed at curious people who want to deepen their connection with nature.

Marbled Wood Quails on Birda


More New World Quail

A photo of a California Quail (Callipepla californica) , male

California Quail

Callipepla californica
Birda Logo

Your birdwatching journey like never before

Connect with nature in minutes
Take a walk, look out of the window and log the birds that you see. Feel good about those little connections to nature.
Discover the joy of birding
Find new birding spots, see more birds, share and celebrate with a like-minded community of nature lovers.
Play your part in saving nature
Logging your birding sightings and sessions turns into positive action for our planet. Every sighting counts.

Birda Blog

What Our Birders Say
Ideal Birdwatch Companion
Simply adds to the enjoyment of my birdwatching and helps me record what I’ve seen.
Amylia S
Best app for any birding person!
I love this app!! I am so addicted to it when I saw it had 3 star review I was so sad! The app is awesome!! The best app for any birding person! ❤️
Great app for beginner twitchers
I’ve had a passion of photographing birds for a long time now but have only just gotten into proper birdwatching, and this app is brilliant for those just getting started. There is a great sense of community among users and the app is very easy to use and professional. Awesome app altogether
A Friendly Place
I love using the bird app, I have a pretty good knowledge of birds. But I do have some gaps in it, so it’s nice to have a safe space to check on a sighting to confirm the species. It’s really enjoyable and I love the badges you can collect. It’s like a real life Pokémon go.
Jane N
A great app
Enjoying it immensely and finding it useful too. Recording the different birds and counting them is showing me how the present climate is affecting them all. I've trebled the numbers by planting native hedging. A great app.
Great bird recording
For a while I’ve been trying to find an app to easily record bird lists and day out and struggled to find one that I like. Birda is great for this, straightforward and a great community!
Makes you want to spot birds more
I think this app is fun. It makes you want to spot birds more so I guess in a way it encourages you to get out and about instead of sitting in front of the TV.
Birda fan
I really enjoy using Birda, all sightings are recorded and photos can be added. There are monthly challenges which help to get you out to record your sightings. The Birda community are great and are happy to help with unidentified bird sightings. Suitable for all ages and experience!
Nick S
Work together with community
Been loving using this app to log my bird sightings and work together with community members to identify different birds. I've already learned a lot since I started about a month ago!
Stewart W
Fantastic to be involved
Fantastic to be involved, great for mental health and gets you responding with the Challenges that are to takd part in.
As featured in
AboutPressAmbassadorsAffiliatesInfluencersCareersPrivacyTerms & Conditions
An app for birdwatchers
Giving back
Connect with us
Copyright © 2024 Chirp Birding. All rights reserved.