File:Flickr - Rainbirder - African Quailfinch (Ortygospiza atricollis) male.jpg
Adult male Black-faced Quailfinch (Ortygospiza atricollis) in breeding plumage, The Gambia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Estrildidae
Genus: Ortygospiza
Sundevall, 1850

Ortygospiza atricollis
Ortygospiza gabonensis
Ortygospiza locustella
but see text

Quailfinches, Ortygospiza is a genus of the estrildid finches. These birds are found in open grasslands in Africa. They are gregarious seed-eaters with short, thick, red bills. They are very terrestrial, with lark-like feet and claws.


1-4 species are usually recognized:

Two issues are contentious: First, whether the Locustfinch should be included here or given its own monotypic genus. Second, the "African Quailfinch" complex might comprise of one or three species. The two-species arrangement as found in most field guides and used by the IUCN, was recently shown to be based only on a single character (the color of the chin and throat). It is certainly erroneous, being contradicted by all other morphological, behavioral and DNA sequence data. The molecular data would support a two-species arrangement with the taxa O. atricollis and O. fuscocrissa, but this is not supported by the other data. In conclusion, either O. gabonensis should be merged back into O. atricollis, or O. fuscocrissa should be restored to species status. Gene flow in the "African Quailfinch" complex is still ongoing, and the three lineages therein either form a superspecies, or can be considered a single, wide-ranging and very variable species.[1].

The Locust Finch, Paludipasser locustella, is sometimes cosidered a member of this genus by some taxonomists.


  1. ^ Payne & Sorenson (2007)


  • Clement, Peter; Harris, Alan & Davis, John (1993): Finches and Sparrows: an identification guide. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-8017-2
  • Payne, Robert B. & Sorenson, Michael D. (2007): Integrative systematics at the species level: plumage, songs and molecular phylogeny of quailfinches Ortygospiza. Bull. B.O.C. 127(1): 4-26. PDF fulltext

Eurasian Spoonbill This article is part of Project Bird Genera, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each genus, including made-up genera.
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