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Uncovering the Fascinating World of the Barred Tinamou

Barred Tinamou: The Fascinating Crypturellus casiquiare

The Barred Tinamou, scientifically known as the Crypturellus casiquiare, is a unique bird that belongs to the family Tinamidae. These birds are endemic to the tropical rainforests in the Amazon and the eastern regions of the Andean foothills in South America.

Here’s an in-depth look at the Barred Tinamou, including its identification, plumages, and molts.


As the name suggests, the Barred Tinamou has barred markings on its upper parts, which are blackish-brown and reddish-brown. Its underparts are white, with black-colored barring on the chest and flanks.

The head is blackish-brown, with a buff-colored stripe running from the base of the bill to the eye. Their eyes are dark brown, the beak is horn-colored, and the legs are pale.



One of the primary features of this bird is the barring on its feathers. Additionally, it has a rufous-colored crown and neck, and its undertail coverts are buff-colored.

The Barred Tinamou has dark speckling on its lower back and rump, along with a distinctive white stripe on its throat. An adult bird measures between 28 and 34 cm in length and weighs between 315 and 465 g.

Similar Species

Tinamous often require expert birding skills to identify correctly. They can be challenging to distinguish for someone who is not a seasoned birder.

The Barred Tinamous, in particular, can be confused with other tinamous such as the Bartlett’s Tinamous, but their different vocalizations can distinguish them.


Like many birds, the Barred Tinamou has different plumages throughout its life. The immature birds and juveniles have feather fringes that give them scaly-looking plumages.

The adult birds’ plumages differ based on their sex.


The Barred Tinamou also molts twice each year: once in summer and once in winter. During the summer molt, the birds change their feathers that they need to survive in drier conditions.

The winter molt produces plumages that help them retain more heat during the colder months.


In conclusion, the Barred Tinamou, also known as Crypturellus casiquiare, is an extraordinary bird species. Its identifiable barred markings and unique plumages make it fascinating to bird lovers and researchers alike.

Understanding the peculiarities of this bird’s features and molting patterns is crucial to appreciate and protect this endemic tinamou of the Amazon.

Systematics History

The Barred Tinamou, Crypturellus casiquiare, is a member of the family Tinamidae, a group of small, ground-dwelling birds that are native to South and Central America. The species was first described by German zoologist Johann Friedrich Gmelin in 1789.

Over the years, taxonomists have made changes to the classification of the Barred Tinamou based on new information about their systematics and geographic distribution.

Geographic Variation

Barred Tinamous are found throughout the Amazon Basin and the eastern foothills of the Andes in South America. Within this vast region, the species exhibits considerable geographic variation in their plumage color, size, and vocalizations.

This variation is thought to be due to differences in environmental conditions, such as rainfall, temperature, and altitude, across their range.


Currently, there are up to 14 recognized subspecies of Barred Tinamou, which can be divided into two main groups based on their geographic distribution. The first group includes southeastern populations in Brazil and Paraguay, which have distinctive rufous-tinged plumage.

The second group includes populations found to the west, such as in Colombia, Venezuela, and Peru. These birds have more silky and grayish plumage tones.

Related Species

The Barred Tinamou is one of several species of ground-dwelling birds belonging to the family Tinamidae. Other members of the family include the Dwarf Tinamou, the Tataupa Tinamou, and the Ornate Tinamou.

The Barred Tinamou is most closely related to the Elegant Crested Tinamou and the Brazilian Tinamou, both of which also occur in South America.

Historical Changes to Distribution

Over the years, the geographic range of the Barred Tinamou has undergone significant changes due to habitat destruction, hunting, and climate change. These factors have led to declines in the species’ populations and changes in its distribution across South America.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, large areas of natural habitat in the Amazon Basin were destroyed to make way for agriculture, mining, and logging activities. This deforestation led to significant population declines and the extirpation of Barred Tinamous from many regions of their former range.

Today, the species’ populations remain vulnerable due to continued habitat destruction, illegal hunting, and climate change. In particular, climate change poses a significant threat to the species’ survival by altering the timing of migratory cycles and the availability of food resources.

In recent years, conservation efforts have been made to protect the habitat of the Barred Tinamou and other ground-dwelling birds in South America. These efforts have focused on reducing deforestation, establishing protected areas, and promoting sustainable land-use practices.

While some progress has been made in the conservation of the species, much work remains to be done to ensure its long-term survival.


In summary, the Barred Tinamou is a remarkable ground-dwelling bird species that exhibits considerable geographic variation across its range. It has been subject to changes in its classification, both over time and presently, due to new knowledge.

Unfortunately, it is also among the many species in the world facing habitat loss and other threats due to human activity. We must continue to prioritize conservation efforts to protect the species and its habitat in South America to ensure its long-term survival.


The Barred Tinamou is a bird species that is native to the dense forests and woodlands of South America. The species is highly adapted to life on the ground, with a preference for areas with heavy undergrowth and vegetation cover.

They can be found across a range of altitudes, from lowland forests up to 1500 meters in elevation. The species is primarily found in tropical rainforests, but it is also known to inhabit less dense forest types such as seasonal forests and savannas.

Barred Tinamous are at home in dense, tangled vegetation that provides suitable cover and foraging opportunities. They nest in the undergrowth, usually laying one or two eggs in a shallow scrape in the soil, often near logs or tree stumps.

During the day, they forage on the ground by searching for insects, small invertebrates, and berries.

Movements and Migration

The Barred Tinamou is considered a sedentary species, meaning that they do not undertake regular long-distance migrations. Instead, they tend to remain within a relatively limited home range throughout the year.

However, they can make seasonal movements in response to changes in weather, food availability, and nesting opportunities. In areas with pronounced dry and wet seasons, such as the Amazon basin, Barred Tinamous have been observed to move to areas with more favorable food and environmental conditions during the dry season.

They may also shift their home range in response to habitat fragmentation or disturbance, such as human activity or fires. When threatened, Barred Tinamous tend to hide by running or freezing in place, remaining motionless until the danger passes.

They rely on their cryptic plumage and mimicry skills to remain undetected, making them challenging to observe and study in the wild.

Conservation Status

The Barred Tinamou is listed as a species of least concern by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). While the species faces threats from habitat destruction, hunting, and climate change, it remains widespread across much of its range.

However, its populations are locally vulnerable in some areas, and further research is needed to fully assess their conservation status and the impacts of threats on their populations. Efforts are underway to conserve the species and its habitat in South America through the establishment of protected areas, management of forest resources, and sustainable land-use practices.

These efforts aim to reduce deforestation and habitat fragmentation and protect the bird species from illegal hunting.


The Barred Tinamou is a unique bird species adapted to ground-dwelling life in dense forests and woodlands of South America. They are primarily sedentary, but they may make seasonal movements in response to environmental changes.

Despite facing threats from habitat destruction, hunting, and climate change, the species remains widespread and not currently at risk of extinction. However, it requires ongoing conservation efforts to ensure that it remains that way.

Therefore, further awareness campaigns and research focusing on the conservation of the species, as well as its significant role in the ecosystem, is necessary.

Diet and Foraging

Barred Tinamous are primarily ground-dwelling birds and forage on the forest floor for food. They have a varied diet that consists of small invertebrates, such as insects and spiders, as well as seeds, berries, and other plant materials.


Barred Tinamous forage on the ground by searching for food with their beak, scratching the leaf litter and soil with their feet, and using their bill to probe the soil and other substrates. They are known to forage alone or in pairs and to feed during the day and night, although they are more active during the day.


Their diet varies depending on their location and the availability of resources, but plant material makes up the majority of their diet. Fruits and berries are an essential part of their diet, and they will consume large amounts of these when they are available.

Their diet may also include small vertebrates, such as lizards and small amphibians, which they capture by darting out their head during a brisk walk.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

Barred Tinamous have a low metabolic rate that enables them to conserve energy while foraging and resting. This adaptation enables them to survive on a limited diet with relatively low nutritional value and to tolerate environmental fluctuations.

These birds are also capable of thermoregulating their body temperature independently of the environment. They save energy by reducing their body temperature at night and by increasing metabolism during the day in response to lower temperatures.

Sounds and Vocal


Barred Tinamous communicate with each other through a unique vocalization system that is essential for their survival and reproduction. These birds produce a loud, ringing call, which they repeat several times and can be heard up to 100 meters away.


Both male and female Barred Tinamous are known to vocalize. The calls produced by males and females are similar, with males tending to produce louder and more varied vocalizations during the breeding season.

During the breeding season, males will call to attract females and to establish territory. The calls are produced by inflating the throat and using an air sac to produce a resonant sound.

During the courtship display, males produce a series of loud calls to attract females and move their heads up and down while singing. Female Barred Tinamous may also produce calls during the breeding season, possibly to signal their presence and communicate with their mates.

Overall, the Barred Tinamou is a fascinating bird species that has adapted to life on the ground and developed unique adaptations for thermoregulation, foraging, and communication. Understanding these adaptations is essential for the conservation of these species, and further research is needed to provide insight into the life history and ecological roles of these birds in South American forest ecosystems.


Barred Tinamous often engage in interesting behaviors, including locomotion, self-maintenance, agonistic behaviors, and sexual behaviors.


Barred Tinamous are primarily terrestrial and are capable of running quickly to escape predators, but they are also capable of short flights to escape danger or move through the forest canopy. During flight, they sound like a small propeller plane, and they tend to fly short distances before landing on nearby branches.

Self Maintenance

Like many bird species, Barred Tinamous spend much of their time preening their feathers and maintaining their appearance. Preening is essential for ensuring that their feathers remain in good condition, clean, and waterproof.

During preening, birds remove dirt, dust, and parasites from their feathers and align the feather barbs using their beak. Agonistic


Barred Tinamous, like many other bird species, may also exhibit agonistic behaviors towards other birds of the same species or birds of different species while protecting their territory or mate.

This behavior may take the form of an aggressive display, calling, or even physical confrontation. Sexual


During the breeding season, male Barred Tinamou perform courtship displays to attract females.

Courtship displays often involve the male vocalizing, puffing up its chest feathers and moving its beak up and down to show off its white throat. Female Tinamous select mates based on the quality of their displays, and males with the most elaborate displays are more likely to mate and pass on their genes to the next generation.


Barred Tinamous form monogamous pairs during the breeding season, which usually takes place from November to April, depending on the location and climate. The pairs will engage in courtship displays and build a nest together under the cover of dense vegetation on the forest floor.

The nests are usually simple scrapes in the soil, and the eggs are incubated for approximately 17-21 days. Once the eggs hatch, the chicks will remain in the nest for up to two days before venturing out to forage with their parents.

Demography and Populations

The Barred Tinamou is a widespread species found in a range of forest habitats across South America. The size and stability of populations are difficult to assess due to the species’ elusive nature, multiple subspecies, and the ongoing threat of habitat destruction, hunting, and climate change.

Despite the lack of population data, the Barred Tinamou remains relatively common in many of its habitats, and the IUCN considers the species to be of least concern. However, local populations are vulnerable to habitat destruction, hunting, and other threats, and protection of their habitat and conservation efforts are required to maintain stable populations.

In recent years, increasing human activity in the Amazon Basin has led to significant habitat destruction, which threatens the survival of the Barred Tinamou and many other bird species. Therefore, continuous research to assess population trends and threats facing the Barred Tinamou is crucial to establish appropriate conservation measures.

Conservation efforts include the establishment of protected areas, promoting sustainable land-use practices, and creating awareness among the local population. The Barred Tinamou, Crypturellus casiquiare, is a fascinating bird species with unique adaptations that enable it to thrive in the dense forests and woodlands of South America.

The bird species exhibits considerable geographic variation in its plumage, foraging, and vocalization behaviors, and many other aspects of their biology. While the Barred Tinamou remains relatively common in many of its habitats, significant threats to its population remain due to habitat destruction, hunting pressure, and climate change.

Therefore, conservation efforts to protect its habitat and its survival are a must. Furthermore, evaluating such efforts using demographic, ecological, genetic, and microbiological studies can ensure it remains on the path of least concern and continues to play a crucial ecological role within its unique South American Forest ecosystem.

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