Ophrysia superciliosa Gray, 1846:8

Himalayan quail, Mountain quail, Himalayan mountain quail, Indian mountain quail, Eyebrowed quail, Eyebrowed rollulus (superseded), Slate-coloured partridge, Mountain pheasant-quail



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Rollulus superciliosus Gray, 1846:8 (original combination); Ortiga superciliosa Gray, 1846:8; Malacoturnix superciliosa Gray, 1846:8; Malacortyx superciliosa Gray, 1846:8


Edward Blyth (1867a, b) transferred the species to the genera Malacoturnix and Malacortyx respectively.


Conservation Status


Last record: 1868 (Tyrberg, 2009:70); 1876 (Martin et al., 2023); December 1876; 1877? (Tyrberg, 2009:70)

IUCN RedList status: Critically Endangered



Himalayas, northern India (& southern Nepal?)


Biology & Ecology




"Only ten skins of Himalayan Quails are preserved in museums, five of which are found in the Natural History Museum at Tring. There are also specimens in Liverpool and New York. No collector, date or locality is indicated on the label of the male in Naturalis."




[url=]RMNH 110.049[/url] (male)






Original scientific description:

Gray, J. E. (1846). Gleanings from the Menagerie and Aviary at Knowsley Hall. Vol. 1 (1846) [page 8, Plate 16 by J. W. Moore on Mountain Quail].


Other references:

Ali, Salim. (1977). Another crack at the Mountain Quail. Newsletters for Birdwatchers 17(5): 1-2.

Ali, Salim and Ripley, S. D. (1987). Compact handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan. Bombay: Oxford University Press.

Anon. (1986). Quail. In: Encyclopaedia of Indian Natural History. (Ed: Hawkins,RE) Bombay Natural History Society and Oxford University Press, Delhi, 462.

Anon. (1990). Status and ecology of the Lesser and Bengal Floricans with reports on Jerdon's Courser and Mountain Quail. Final Report. P. 1-11. 

Baral, H. S.; Basnet, S.; Chaudhary, H.; Chaudhary, B.; Timsina, A.; Bidari, K. (In prep). Search for a lost species Himalayan Quail Ophrysia superciliosa in the midhills of the far west Nepal.

Benstead, P. (2002). Conservation Fund: Survey and status of Himalayan Quail in India. Oriental Bird Club Bulletin 35: 9-10. 

BirdLife International (2000) Threatened Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona and Cambridge.

BirdLife International. (2012). Ophrysia superciliosa. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. ( Downloaded on 08 July 2012.

Blanford, W. T. (1898). Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Birds, volume 4. London: Taylor & Francis.

Blyth, E. (1867a). Remarks on an Indian Quail (Rollulus superciliosus). Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1867: 474-475.

Blyth, E. (1867b). The Ornithology of Ceylon - A Supplement to Dr. Jerdon's 'Birds of India'. Ibis 2nd Series, 3: 294-314.

Boakes, E. H., McGowan, P. J. K., Fuller , R. A., Ding, C., Clark, N. E., O’Connor, K. and Mace, G. M. (2010). Distorted views of biodiversity: Spatial and temporal bias in species occurrence data. PLoS Biology 8(6): e1000385.

Butchart, S. H. M.; Collar, N. J.; Crosby, M. J. & Tobias, J. A. (2005). Asian enigmas: "Lost" and poorly known birds: targets for birders in Asia. Birding Asia 3: 41-49.

Butchart, Stuart H. M., Lowe, Stephen, Martin, Rob W., Symes, Andy, Westrip, James R. S. and Wheatley, Hannah. (2018a). Which bird species have gone extinct? A novel quantitative classification approach. Biological Conservation 227: 9-18.

Butchart, Stuart H. M., Stattersfield, A. J. and Brooks, T. M. (2006). Going or gone: defining ‘Possibly Extinct’ species to give a truer picture of recent extinctions. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 126A: 7-24.

Butchart, Stuart H. M., Wheatley, Hannah, Lowe, Stephen, Westrip, James R. S., Symes, Andy and Martin, Rob W. (2018b). Data for: Which bird species have gone extinct? A novel quantitative classification approach. Mendeley Data, V1, doi: 10.17632/vvjhpmyxb4.1

Chen, D., Hosner, P. A., Dittmann, D. L., O’Neill, J. P., Birks, S. M., Braun, E. L., et al. (2021). Divergence time estimation of Galliformes based on the best gene shopping scheme of ultraconserved elements. BMC Ecol. Evol. 21:209. doi: 10.1186/s12862-021-01935-1

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Collen, Ben, Purvis, Andy and Mace, Georgina M. (2010). When is a species really extinct? Testing extinction inference from a sighting record to inform conservation assessment. Diversity and Distributions 16(5): 755-764. [Abstract]

Comber, E. (1905). A rare Indian game-bird, the Mountain Quail (Ophrysia superciliosa, Gray). Journal of Bombay Natural History Society 16: 361-362.

Day, David. (1981). The Doomsday Book of Animals: A Natural History of Vanished Species. New York, N.Y.: The Viking Press.

Dunn, Jonathon C. et al. (2015). Mapping the potential distribution of the Critically Endangered Himalayan Quail Ophrysia superciliosa using proxy species and species distribution modelling. Bird Conservation International. DOI:

Fuller, Errol. (1988). Extinct Birds. New York: Facts on File Publications. 256 pp.

Fuller, R.A., Carroll, J.P., and McGowan, P.J.K. (eds.). (2000). Partridges, Quails, Francolins, Snowcocks, Guineafowl, and Turkeys. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan 2000–2004. WPA/BirdLife/SSC Partridge, Quail, and Francolin Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK, and the World Pheasant Association, Reading, UK. vii + 63 pp.

Greenway, J. C. (1958). Extinct and Vanishing Birds of the World. Amer. Comm. International Wildlife Protection Special Publ. No 13.

Greenway JC (1967) Extinct and Vanishing Birds of the World. American C ommittee for International Wild Life Protection, Special Publication no 13, 2nd edn. Dover Publications, New York.

Hilaluddin; Kaul, R. (2002). Search for Himalayan Quail. Mor., p. 10-11.

Hume, A. O. and Marshall, C. H. T. (1879–1881). The game birds of India, Burmah and Ceylon. 3 vols. Published by the authors, Calcutta.

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Kalsi, R. (2004). Survey and status of Himalayan Quail (Ophrysia superciliosa) in India: interim report.

Kaul, R. (1992). Indian Mountain Quail. Can we learn from Cheer Pheasant studies. World Pheasant Association Journal News  38: 18-19.

Keane, A.M.; Carroll, J. P.; Fuller, R. A.; McGowan, P.J. K. in press. Partridges, quails, francolins, snowcocks, guineafowl and turkeys: status survey and conservation action plan 2005-2009. IUCN and WPA, Gland, Switzerland.

Khoshoo, T. N. (1996). India needs a National Biodiversity Conservation Board. Current Science 71(7): 506-513.

Knox, Alan G. and Walters, Michael P. (1994). Extinct and endangered birds in the collections of The Natural History Museum. British Ornithologists' Club Occasional Publications 1: 1-292.

Martin, Thomas E., Bennett, Gareth C., Fairbairn, Andrew J. and Mooers, A. Ø. (2023). ‘Lost’ taxa and their conservation implications. Animal Conservation 26(1): 14-24. [Appendix S2 (1617 taxa not seen >10 years); Appendix S3 (562 taxa not seen >50 years)]

Negi, I. S. (1992). Is Mountain Quail extinct? Cheetal 31(1-2): 15-18.

Negi, I. S. (2006). Is Mountain Quail extinct? Cheetal 45(3-4): 48-51.

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Rieger, Ingo and Walzthöny, Doris. (1991). Look out for the Mountain Quail. The WWF India Quarterly Newsletter 2(4): 18-19.

Rieger, Ingo and Walzthöny, Doris. (1992). The distribution of the mountain quail (Ophrysia superciliosa) in the last century. Gibier Faune Sauvage 9: 585-590.

Rieger, Ingo and Walzthöny, Doris. (1993). Searching for Mountain Quails, Ophrysia superciliosa. [incomplete citation]

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Sankaran, R. (1990). Mountain Quail - a preliminary survey. in Anon. Status and ecology of the Lesser and Bengal. Floricans with reports on Jerdon’s Courser and Mountain Quail. Bombay: BNHS pp. 135-137.

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Talwar, R. (1996a). Mountain Quail, Waiting to be rediscovered. World Wildlife Fund- India Quarterly. 7(2): 18.

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