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10 Fascinating Facts About the Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge

The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is a fascinating bird species that is endemic to Mexico and can be found in the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains. This elusive bird is known for its distinctive, stunning appearance, and its unique habits in the wild.

In this article, we will dive into the history, identification, plumages, molts, and other exciting facts about the Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge.


The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is a medium-sized bird and is approximately 28 to 33cm in length, with a wingspan of up to 45cm. It is characterized by its conspicuous, buffy-white crown, a chestnut nape, and bright red orbital skin surrounding its eyes.

Its plumage is heavily barred and streaked with black, giving it a stunning appearance in the wild. Its legs are leggy and yellow, and its bill is short, stout, and grey.



In the field, the Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge can be identified by its distinctive buffy-white crown and chestnut nape. It is also characterized by its striking red orbital skin around the eyes and long, yellow legs.

Its distinctive plumage and barred pattern make it more easily distinguishable from other partridge species.

Similar Species

The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge can be confused with other species of partridge, such as the Scaled Quail, but the Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is easily identifiable by its unique plumage and striking coloration. The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge also has a more elongated shape than other partridge species.


The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge has a distinct plumage variation between the sexes. Males are characterized by their reddish-brown underparts, while females have greyish-brown underparts.

Both sexes have similar barred upperparts, but males have a more distinctive tawny rufous coloration on the neck and head.


The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge experiences two molts in a year. During the body molt, the plumes and feathers of the bird are replaced gradually, while the second molt, known as the pre-basic molt, takes place after the breeding season.

This molt results in a temporary loss of the bright coloration characteristic of the species.


The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is a stunning bird species that is a treat for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike. Its striking coloration and unique habits make it an exciting bird to encounter in the wild.

With the information provided in this article, you can now easily identify and understand this fascinating bird. of species information.

Systematics History

The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge, scientifically known as Dendrortyx leucophrys, is a member of the Galliformes order of birds and the family Odontophoridae. The species was first described by Johann Baptist von Spix in 1825.

Since its discovery, the species has undergone various classification revisions.

Geographic Variation

The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is found only in Mexico, in the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains. The species has a range that spans from south Texas to the southernmost regions of Veracruz.


The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge has five recognized subspecies- Dendrortyx leucophrys dampierii, Dendrortyx leucophrys leucophrys, Dendrortyx leucophrys kuekenthali, Dendrortyx leucophrys pettingilli, and Dendrortyx leucophrys sinaloae. The subspecies Dendrortyx leucophrys leucophrys is found in the southern Sierra Madre Oriental of Puebla and Veracruz.

Dendrortyx leucophrys dampierii is found in the northern portions of the Sierra Madre Oriental in the states of Coahuila and Nuevo Leon. Dendrortyx leucophrys kuekenthali is found in northern Tamaulipas and south Texas, while Dendrortyx leucophrys pettingilli is found in the mountains of southern San Luis Potosi and Guanajuato.

Lastly, Dendrortyx leucophrys sinaloae is found in the western Sierra Madre Occidental near Sinaloa.

Related Species

The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is part of a group of species known commonly as Wood-Partridges. Species that are closely related to the Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge include the Ocellated Quail, Banded Quail, and Crested Guan.

Historical Changes to Distribution

There has been significant movement in the Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridges historical distribution range. The species was formerly distributed widely throughout northeastern Mexico but is now restricted mainly to the Sierra Madre Oriental and the western Sierra Madre Occidental mountain ranges.

The decline in the historical range of the species has been attributed to habitat loss due to mining, deforestation, and development. The species is also heavily hunted in certain areas and often targeted for game.

Conservation Efforts

The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is listed under the Near Threatened (NT) category of the International Union for

Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List due to its limited geographic range and proposed decline in population. The species is also considered a priority for conservation within Mexico.

Many conservation efforts have been initiated to address the decline in population, including the protection and restoration of habitat and regulation of hunting practices.


The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is a species of bird with a complex history and a unique distribution range that is currently under threat. The five subspecies and their specific geographic ranges highlight the diversity of the species.

The decline of the species distribution range has become a major concern, but conservation efforts are ongoing to protect and restore its habitat. More research is necessary to fully understand the species and its complex history, as well as to establish more robust conservation efforts.

of species information.


The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is an inhabitant of forested mountain areas and is typically found in regions with dense, thorny understory. The species has a preference for the oak-pine forest ecotone and can be found in cloud forests, pine-oak forests, and mixed deciduous forests.

This species is considered to be habitat generalists and can be found in both primary and secondary forests.

Movements and Migration

The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is a year-round resident of its range and has not been observed to migrate. The species is typically not known for making long-distance movements.

Some limited movement may take place, though, primarily during the distribution of food and when changes in weather or environmental conditions lead to changes in habitat quality.

Territoriality and Home Range

The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is known to have a complex social system of territoriality. Territoriality is known to be especially prominent during the breeding season.

During this period, males set up territories and use their vocalizations to communicate with conspecifics, advertise their location, and defend their territory. Home ranges of the Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge are likely to be quite large, with males occupying the largest ranges.

In one study, researchers estimated that males occupy a total range of approximately four to five hectares, with females occupying a range of two hectares.


The breeding season for the Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge varies depending on the location, but is generally from late February through July. During this period, males engage in elaborate courtship displays, including calling, chasing, and strutting.

These displays are often accompanied by vocalizations (a series of rhythmic whistles or hoots) that serve to attract potential mates and defend their territory. Nests are constructed on the ground in sheltered areas.

The female typically lays three to five eggs, which have a greenish-brown coloration. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs for approximately 28 days.

Once hatched, the chicks are cared for by both parents and are fully fledged within three weeks.

Conservation Status

The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge has been classified as Near Threatened on the International Union for

Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The main threats to the Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge include habitat loss due to deforestation caused by agricultural development and exploitation for timber, mining, and hydroelectric power generation.

The species is also threatened by hunting and trapping for food.

Conservation efforts for this species include establishing protected areas, forest management plans, and working with local people to promote sustainable use and habitat restoration. As a generalist species, the Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge can benefit from the establishment of nature reserves that provide suitable, high-quality habitats.

Additionally, educating people about hunting regulations and encouraging participation in conservation programs can help increase awareness and protect the species for future generations.


The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is a fascinating species that is adapted to life in the mountain forests of Mexico. The species’ preferred habitat has a critical influence on the birds’ survival.

The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is a year-round resident of its range and does not migrate, with limited movement taking place during food availability and changing weather conditions. Its complex social system of territoriality highlights the critical role of the species’ habitat in supporting breeding efforts.

Conservation efforts to protect the Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge focus on habitat protection and restoration and educating locals about hunting regulations and the importance of conservation. of species information.

Diet and Foraging

The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is an omnivorous bird that feeds primarily on a variety of plant materials, including seeds, fruits, and insects. The species will forage along the ground, scratching and pecking at the leaf litter, and occasionally climbing small trees to access fruits and berries.

The species is considered a generalist, opportunistic feeder and will consume a wide range of food depending on what is available.


The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge’s feeding behavior is influenced by the species’ seasonal dietary needs. During the breeding season, the bird’s diet is focused on high-protein food, including insects and small invertebrates, to support the growth and development of the chicks.

During the non-breeding season, the species will shift its diet to a more plant-based menu, consuming an array of berries, fruits, and seeds.


The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge’s diet is diverse, with the species feeding on a variety of plant materials, such as acorns, buds, leaves, and roots. The bird is also known to eat small invertebrates, including ants, termites, and beetles.

Researchers suggest that the Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge benefits from its diverse diet, which allows for easy adaptation to changing environmental conditions.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is a homeothermic species, meaning it has the ability to regulate its body temperature. The bird has a lower metabolic rate during the non-breeding season when it relies more heavily on a plant-based diet.

The species will eat more frequently during periods when its metabolic rate is higher, such as during colder months, to produce enough energy to maintain body temperature.

Sounds and Vocal


The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is a vocal species, and males use a series of whistles, snorts, and hoots to communicate with other birds and defend their territory. During the breeding season, males will engage in elaborate vocalizations to attract females.


The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge has a diverse set of vocalizations, including a series of guttural squawks, short and sharp whistles, and low-pitched hoots. These vocalizations are often used to communicate with other birds, either to establish territory or during the courtship process.

Male Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridges sing from elevated perches to defend their territories and attract females. These songs are typically a series of lively, trilled notes, with variations between birds.

They are often described as a whirring sound, somewhat similar to the sound produced by the wings of a hummingbird. During courtship, males will engage in more complex vocalizations, including series of soft whistles and pops, often interspersed with the trill notes, to attract females.

These vocalizations can be quite intricate and are often accompanied by strutting and other courtship displays.


The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is an omnivorous species that feeds on a diverse range of plant materials and small invertebrates. Its feeding behavior is influenced by the seasonal availability of food.

The species is also a vocal bird, with a diverse range of vocalizations, a characteristic common to the large family of quail-like birds. The male bird’s vocalizations are used for defense and to attract females during courtship.

Understanding the Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge’s unique feeding and vocalization behaviors is important in managing and conserving the species. of species information.


The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is a moderately active species of bird that spends most of its time on the ground. It is known for its complex social system, which includes both territorial and agonistic behaviors.

The species is considered a habitat generalist and can be found in both primary and secondary forests.


The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge primarily moves on foot and is known for scratching the ground, pecking, and poking with its bill. The bird can also climb small trees to access fruits and berries.

Self Maintenance

Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridges are known for their frequent preening behaviors, as they spend a significant amount of time caring for their plumage. This behavior helps maintain the bird’s feathers and protect them from damage, while also helping to maintain the bird’s body temperature by spreading oils over the plumage.



The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge displays a variety of aggressive behaviors when defending their territory or mates. During this time, males will often puff up their feathers, raise their crest, and engage in both vocal and physical displays of aggression.



Males of the species are known to display elaborate courtship dances and vocalizations to attract potential mates. During the breeding season, males create territories and use vocalizations to attract females.

Females will select a mate based on their display and territorial behavior. Once mating has occurred, both parents take turns incubating the eggs and caring for the chicks.


The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge breeds annually, generally from February through July, with peak breeding in May and June. Both sexes are involved in building the nest, which is typically constructed on the ground in a sheltered location such as under dense vegetation or a fallen trunk.

Females lay three to five eggs which are incubated for approximately 28 days. The chicks are cared for by both parents and will fledge in about one to two weeks.

Demography and Populations

The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is a species with relatively stable populations, but the total number of individuals has been on a steady decline, primarily due to habitat loss and hunting. The species has specific habitat requirements, and anthropogenic land use change, such as deforestation, has led to threats to the species’ survival.

The population trend for the species is considered stable but is declining in some areas due to habitat loss and hunting.


A variety of conservation efforts has been initiated to help protect the Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge. This includes establishing more protected areas such as national parks and reserves where the species lives, habitat restoration, forest management plans, and community-based conservation initiatives.

Public education and awareness are also important in promoting sustainable use and habitat management.


The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is a moderately active bird species that displays a complex set of social, sexual, and agonistic behaviors. The species is an omnivorous bird that is particularly adapted to its natural habitat.

Its foraging, self-maintenance, and locomotion behaviors are all unique to the species. The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is bred annually, and the survival of its population depends on various factors such as habitat availability, hunting regulations, and land management practices.

Conservation initiatives have been implemented to help preserve the Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge by protecting, managing, and restoring its habitats. The Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge is a fascinating bird species that can be found only in Mexico, in the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains.

The article covered several aspects of the species, including its identification, plumages, molts, habitat, movements, vocalizations, behavior, breeding, demography, and populations. Understanding the Buffy-crowned Wood-Partridge’s characteristics, social systems, feeding behaviors, vocalizations, and reproductive biology is essential for its conservation and management.

However, the species has undergone habitat loss and hunting in some areas, making conservation efforts crucial for protecting this beautiful bird. Greater initiatives through informed policies and active community participation are necessary to ensure that this endemic species continues to survive and thrive in the future.

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