The order of the Tinamiformes is primitive among the living birds consists of 1 order, 9 families and 47 species. They are exclusively distributed thorughout the Neoptropics, confined to Central and South America. Tinamous exhibit exclusive male parental care. This type of care is rarely found in birds and only in tinamous is present in all species of the order. Some species are polyandrous (one female mated with several males) species. Some species lay brightly colored, others glossy eggs. Tinamous are found in a wide diversity of habitats. males accumulate eggs from several females in at least two different ways: in some species females form stable groups and cooperate to lay the clutch for a male, sometimes even laying replacement clutches together while, in other species, multiple females lay eggs in a nest, but they do not form associations or travel together before or after being attracted by the male. Some species of tinamous are sexually dimorphic in their plumage. In most species, however, male and female plumages are virtually identical. Females tend to be larger than males, but there is extensive overlap which makes accurate sexing difficult. It s always a ground nester; and the newly born chicks are nidifugous (young are able to walk and leave the nest right after hatching). The re mostly crepuscular active (active at dusk and dawn), walking along forest floor eating fruits, seeds, insects. These birds often crouch in presence of danger rather than fleeing. They are poor flyers and cannot fly long distances. Some argue the Tinamiformes are not be considered a separate order; perhaps should be combined into a single order with the ratites.

Tinamous are considered primarily solitary, but outside of the breeding season may gather into small foraging parties, family groups, or flocks of up to 100 adults. Female coalitions appear stable and may persist for several years. Vocalizations consist of stereotyped, polysyllabic whistles. Some tinamous are hunted for their meat, which is prized for its tenderness and flavor. In the early 1900’s tinamous were raised as game birds in Europe and Canada. Frozen tinamous from Argentina were sold in the USA as South American Quail. Some tinamous are deemed suitable for egg production, but despite successful reproduction in captivity in Europe, domestication has not succeeded. Eleven tinamous species are included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, two of those (Crypturellus saltuarius, Nothoprocta kalinowskii) are listed as Critically Endangered. Major threats to wild populations include: habitat loss and degradation; hunting and collecting; alien invasive species; and land/water pollution.

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