Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

Tinamidae - Tinamous

Tinamou
Elegant Crested Tinamou Eudromia elegans ©James Lowen Website

Tinamous form an order (the Tinamiformes) comprising a single family, with two distinct subfamilies, containing 47 species of birds found in Mexico, Central America, and South America. One of the most ancient living groups of bird, they first appear in the fossil record in the Miocene epoch. Tinamous have traditionally been regarded as the sister group of the flightless ratites, but recent work places them well within the ratite radiation, implying basal ratites could fly.

They are generally sedentary, ground-dwelling birds and, though not flightless, when possible avoid flight in favour of hiding or running away from danger. They are found in a variety of habitats, ranging from semi-arid alpine grasslands to tropical rainforests.

Although some species are quite common, tinamous are shy and secretive birds. They are active during the day, retiring to roosts at night. They generally have cryptic plumage, with males and females similar in appearance, though the females are usually larger. They are opportunistic and omnivorous feeders, consuming a wide variety of plant and animal food from fruits and seeds to worms, insects and small vertebrates. They will dust-bathe as well as wash themselves by standing in heavy rain. They are heard more often than seen, communicating with each other by a variety of frequently given, characteristic calls, especially during the breeding season.

With occasional exceptions, a male tinamou maintains a territory and a nesting site during the breeding season, which a succession of females will visit, laying their eggs in the same nest. Females will wander through several territories mating with, and laying eggs in the nests of the resident males. Nests are always on the ground, concealed in vegetation or among rocks. Eggs are relatively large and glossy, often brightly coloured when laid, and are incubated by the males for a period of two to three weeks. The chicks can run soon after hatching and are largely self-sufficient at three weeks old.

Tinamous and their eggs have many natural predators, from falcons and vampire bats to jaguars and giant anteaters. They have also been extensively hunted by humans and sometimes persecuted as agricultural pests. However, the main threat to their populations is from habitat destruction through land clearing and agricultural development. Seven species are listed as vulnerable and another seven as near threatened.

They feature in the mythology of the indigenous peoples of their range.

Often translocated and easily bred in captivity, they have never been successfully domesticated.

The two subfamilies are broadly divided by habitat, with the Nothurinae being steppe or open country tinamous, and the Tinaminae being forest tinamous.

According to the IOC the 47 species in this family are:

Grey Tinamou Tinamus tao
Solitary Tinamou Tinamus solitarius
Black Tinamou Tinamus osgoodi
Great Tinamou Tinamus major
White-throated Tinamou Tinamus guttatus

Highland Tinamou Nothocercus bonapartei
Tawny-breasted Tinamou Nothocercus julius
Hooded Tinamou Nothocercus nigrocapillus

Berlepsch's Tinamou Crypturellus berlepschi
Cinereous Tinamou Crypturellus cinereus
Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui
Tepui Tinamou Crypturellus ptaritepui
Brown Tinamou Crypturellus obsoletus
Undulated Tinamou Crypturellus undulates
Pale-browed Tinamou Crypturellus transfasciatus
Brazilian Tinamou Crypturellus strigulosus
Grey-legged Tinamou Crypturellus duidae
Red-legged Tinamou Crypturellus erythropus
Yellow-legged Tinamou Crypturellus noctivagus
Black-capped Tinamou Crypturellus atrocapillus
Thicket Tinamou Crypturellus cinnamomeus
Slaty-breasted Tinamou Crypturellus boucardi
Choco Tinamou Crypturellus kerriae
Variegated Tinamou Crypturellus variegatus
Rusty Tinamou Crypturellus brevirostris
Bartlett's Tinamou Crypturellus bartletti
Small-billed Tinamou Crypturellus parvirostris
Barred Tinamou Crypturellus casiquiare
Tataupa Tinamou Crypturellus tataupa

Red-winged Tinamou Rhynchotus rufescens
Huayco Tinamou Rhynchotus maculicollis

Taczanowski's Tinamou Nothoprocta taczanowskii
Ornate Tinamou Nothoprocta ornata
Chilean Tinamou Nothoprocta perdicaria
Brushland Tinamou Nothoprocta cinerascens
Andean Tinamou Nothoprocta pentlandii
Curve-billed Tinamou Nothoprocta curvirostris
White-bellied Nothura Nothura boraquira
Lesser Nothura Nothura minor
Darwin's Nothura Nothura darwinii
Spotted Nothura Nothura maculosa
Chaco Nothura Nothura chacoensis

Dwarf Tinamou Taoniscus nanus

Elegant Crested Tinamou Eudromia elegans
Quebracho Crested Tinamou Eudromia formosa

Puna Tinamou Tinamotis pentlandii
Patagonian Tinamou Tinamotis ingoufi

Panamanian tradition states that after the "Great Flood", the great tinamou grew frightened of the bright colors in the rainbow. He flew away from the rainbow, the ark, and the rest of the animals, heading for the darkest part of the forest, where he has remained ever since.

Family Links

Tinamous Tinamidae

IBC Family Account

IBC family account with taxonomy...

Tinamous Tinamidae

Family Account

Family account...

Tinamous Tinamidae

Family Account

Family account…

Tinamous Tinamidae

Family Account

Family list with links to individual species pages with taxonomy and distribution, references etc…

Tinamous Tinamidae

HBW Family Account

HBW family account...

Species Links

Grey Tinamou Tinamus tao

BirdLife Species Account

BirdLife species profile...

Grey Tinamou Tinamus tao

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Grey Tinamou Tinamus tao

HBW Species Account

HBW species account

Grey Tinamou Tinamus tao

Cornell Species Account

Cornell species account...

Grey Tinamou Tinamus tao

IBC Species Account

IBC species account with taxonomy...

Grey Tinamou Tinamus tao

Image

Excellent images

Solitary Tinamou Tinamus solitarius

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Solitary Tinamou Tinamus solitarius

BirdLife Species Account

BirdLife species profile...

Solitary Tinamou Tinamus solitarius

Cornell Species Account

Cornell species account...

Solitary Tinamou Tinamus solitarius

HBW Species Account

HBW species account...

Solitary Tinamou Tinamus solitarius

IBC Species Account

IBC species account with taxonomy...

Solitary Tinamou Tinamus solitarius

Species Account

Fauna Paraguay species account with images

Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui

Species Account

Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui

Cornell Species Account

Cornell species account with image

Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui

BirdLife Species Account

BirdLife species profile...

Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui

IBC Family Account

IBC species account and taxonomy...

Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui

HBW Species Account

HBW species account

Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui

Species Account

Species account

Black Tinamou Tinamus osgoodi

BirdLife Species Account

BirdLife species profile...

Black Tinamou Tinamus osgoodi

Species Account

Black Tinamou Tinamus osgoodi

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Black Tinamou Tinamus osgoodi

HBW Species Account

HBW species account...

Black Tinamou Tinamus osgoodi

Cornell Species Account

Cornell species account...

Black Tinamou Tinamus osgoodi

IBC Species Account

IBC species profile with taxonomy...

Great Tinamou Tinamus major

Species Account

Great Tinamou Tinamus major

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Great Tinamou Tinamus major

BirdLife Species Account

BirdLife species profile...

Great Tinamou Tinamus major

Cornell Species Account

Cornell species account with image...

Great Tinamou Tinamus major

HBW Species Account

HBW species account...

Great Tinamou Tinamus major

IBC Species Account

IBC species account with taxonomy...

Great Tinamou Tinamus major

Species Account

Species account...

White-throated Tinamou Tinamus guttatus

Species Account

White-throated Tinamou Tinamus guttatus

BirdLife Species Account

BirdLife species profile...

White-throated Tinamou Tinamus guttatus

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

White-throated Tinamou Tinamus guttatus

Cornell Species Account

Cornell species account with image...

White-throated Tinamou Tinamus guttatus

HBW Species Account

HBW species account...

White-throated Tinamou Tinamus guttatus

IBC Species Account

IBC species account with taxonomy

Highland Tinamou Nothocercus bonapartei

Species Account

Highland Tinamou Nothocercus bonapartei

BirdLife Species Account

BirdLife species profile...

Highland Tinamou Nothocercus bonapartei

Cornell Species Account

Cornell species account with image

Highland Tinamou Nothocercus bonapartei

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Highland Tinamou Nothocercus bonapartei

HBW Species Account

HBW species account...

Highland Tinamou Nothocercus bonapartei

IBC Species Account

IBC species account with taxonomy...

Tawny-breasted Tinamou Nothocercus julius

Species Account

Tawny-breasted Tinamou Nothocercus julius

BirdLife Species Account

BirdLife species profile...

Tawny-breasted Tinamou Nothocercus julius

Cornell Species Account

Cornell species account with image...

Tawny-breasted Tinamou Nothocercus julius

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Tawny-breasted Tinamou Nothocercus julius

HBW Species Account

HBW species account...

Tawny-breasted Tinamou Nothocercus julius

IBC Species Account

IBC species account and taxonomy...

Tawny-breasted Tinamou Nothocercus julius

Species Account

Species account...

Tawny-breasted Tinamou Nothocercus julius

Species Account

Birds of Venezuela species account with image...

Hooded Tinamou Nothocercus nigrocapillus

Species Account

Hooded Tinamou Nothocercus nigrocapillus

BirdLife Species Account

BirdLife species profile...

Hooded Tinamou Nothocercus nigrocapillus

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Hooded Tinamou Nothocercus nigrocapillus

Cornell Species Account

Cornell species account with image

Hooded Tinamou Nothocercus nigrocapillus

HBW Species Account

HBW species account...

Hooded Tinamou Nothocercus nigrocapillus

IUCN Species Status

IUCN species profile...

Hooded Tinamou Nothocercus nigrocapillus

IBC Species Account

IBC species account and taxonomy...

Elegant Crested Tinamou Eudromia elegans

Species Account

The elegant crested tinamou or martineta tinamou (Eudromia elegans) is a medium-sized tinamou that can be found in southern Chile and Argentina[3] in shrubland.

Elegant Crested Tinamou Eudromia elegans

Cornell Species Account

Elegant Crested-Tinamou is a charismatic terrestrial bird of western Argentina and windswept Patagonia.

Elegant Crested Tinamou Eudromia elegans

BirdLife Species Account

Elegant Crested Tinamou Eudromia elegans

IUCN Species Status

Elegant Crested Tinamou Eudromia elegans

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Eudromia elegans I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1832, southern Buenos Aires, Argentina. Closely related to E. formosa, and has been considered conspecific with it. Geographical variation partly clinal, paler in N of range and darkest in S. Ten subspecies recognized.

Elegant Crested Tinamou Eudromia elegans

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 47

Other Links

Incubation in Great Tinamou Tinamus major

Article

Patricia L. R. Brennan - The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, Vol. 121, No. 3 (Sep., 2009), pp. 506-511

Photographers & Artists

Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui

Video

Nesting. Boyacá, Colombia. Feb 2013

Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui

Video

Video of feeding bird by Fabricio Vasconcelos Costa

Black Tinamou Tinamus osgoodi

Video

Secretive Black Tinamou Tinamus osgoodi hershkovitz

Great Tinamou Tinamus major

Image

Great Tinamou Tinamus major

Video

White-throated Tinamou Tinamus guttatus

Video

2010 P.V. Tono. Parque Nacional Manu ~1000m.