Crested Bobwhite (Colinus cristatus)

Crested Bobwhite

[order] Galliformes | [family] Odontophoridae | [latin] Colinus cristatus | [UK] Crested Bobwhite | [FR] Colin huppe | [DE] Haubenwachtel | [ES] Colin Crestudo | [IT] | [NL] Kuifkwartel


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Odontophorus cristatus
Colinus cristatus LA Panama through n SA
Colinus cristatus badius wc Colombia
Colinus cristatus barnesi wc Venezuela
Colinus cristatus bogotensis nc Colombia
Colinus cristatus cristatus ne Colombia, nw Venezuela, Aruba, Curacao
Colinus cristatus decoratus n Colombia
Colinus cristatus horvathi Merida Mts. (nw Venezuela)
Colinus cristatus leucotis Magdalena Valley (nc Colombia)
Colinus cristatus littoralis Santa Marta foothills (ne Colombia)
Colinus cristatus mariae sw Costa Rica, Chiriqui (nw Panama)
Colinus cristatus mocquerysi ne Venezuela
Colinus cristatus panamensis sw Panama
Colinus cristatus parvicristatus ec Colombia, sc Venezuela
Colinus cristatus sonnini nc Venezuela, the Guianas, n Brazil

Physical charateristics

As name suggests, this species has a bushy, spiked crest. There is considerable geographical variation in the coloration of the face pattern, breast and crest length. cristatus (northern Colombia) has a lighter buff face pattern; the breast, abdomen and back of neck is chestnut, heavily spotted with white; mantle resembles Northern Bobwhite. sonnini (northern Venezuela to Brazil) has the longest crest, the face pattern is chestnut and there are no markings on the upper breast. parvicristatus (northeastern Colombia and western Venezuela) has the shortest crest. Females are also crested, but much shorter in length than the male. They are also generally duller, their plumage markings darker.

Listen to the sound of Crested Bobwhite

[audio: Bobwhite.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: cm wingspan max.: cm
size min.: 18 cm size max.: 22 cm
incubation min.: 22 days incubation max.: 23 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 8  
      eggs max.: 16  


Ranges from Panama south into Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil. In Suriname common in open savannah with long grass and scsattered trees.


Prefers open landscapes such as savannas, the edges of forest and roads. It is rather common in nature, and even expanding because of the deforestation. On the whole of its range it can be found up to 1500 meter and in Colombia even up to 3200 meter.


Probably monogamous, the crested bobwhite reaches sexual at the end of the first year. The nest is built on the ground in a cavity lined with grass stems. The female lays 8 to 16 eggs which are incubated for a period of 22 to 23 days. The crested bobwhite breeds mainly during the wet season but one also many broods in various months of the year in Colombia, in particular February and from April to September.

Feeding habits

The diet is mainly vegetarian. It feeds mainly on seeds and berries, but on some occasions, it also digests small invertebrates or other plants.


This species has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 2,000,000 km2. The global population size has not been quantified, but it is believed to be large as the species is described as ‘common’ in at least parts of its range (Stotz et al. 1996). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e., declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Crested Bobwhite status Least Concern


Presumed sedentary, conveys in small groups of about 12 individuals in Suriname

Distribution map

Crested Bobwhite range map


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