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Unveiling the Secret Life of Brazilian Tinamous: Behaviour Breeding and Population

The Brazilian Tinamou, scientifically known as Crypturellus strigulosus, is a ground-dwelling bird species found in South America. They belong to the family Tinamidae, which includes other species of tinamous that are also found in this region.

In this article, we will discuss the identification of this bird, its plumages, molts, and similar species to help readers get a better understanding of this bird.


The Brazilian Tinamou is a medium-sized bird that ranges from 9 to 11.5 inches in length. They have a brownish-grey plumage with white spots on their neck and breast.

Their head and back are covered in a darker brown plumage with a reddish-brown stripe running down their neck. They have a small beak and feet that are perfectly adapted for running and walking on the ground.



When in the field, the Brazilian Tinamou can be easily identified by its distinctive call. It produces a series of loud cackling sounds that resemble a chicken or turkey.

They are also known for their habit of running instead of flying when they feel threatened, making them easy to spot in open grasslands and forest floors.

Similar Species

The Brazilian Tinamou shares its habitat with several other species of tinamous that resemble it, making identification challenging. One common species that is often confused with the Brazilian Tinamou is the Little Tinamou (Crypturellus soui).

This species is smaller in size and has a darker plumage with a reddish-brown crown.


The Brazilian Tinamou has five distinct plumages that are produced during its lifetime. Juvenile birds have a duller coloration as compared to adults and can be identified by their smaller size.

Adult birds have five plumages that include the basic, alternate, juvenile, breeding, and non-breeding plumages. It is essential to note that the breeding and non-breeding plumages are not distinct, and mature birds can molt into these two forms.


The Brazilian Tinamou molts more frequently than most bird species, with birds molting at least two to three times a year. Molting is the process of shedding old feathers and replacing them with new ones.

During this period, the birds may temporarily lose the ability to fly, making them more vulnerable to predators. Molting typically occurs during the rainy season when food availability is at its peak, allowing the birds to replenish their energy quickly.

In summary, the Brazilian Tinamou is a fascinating ground-dwelling bird species found in South America. They are easily identified by their distinctive calls, brownish-grey plumage, and white spots on their neck and breast.

They have five distinct plumages, with birds molting at least two to three times a year. Although they share their habitat with similar species, the Brazilian Tinamou has unique characteristics that set it apart from other tinamous.

Learning about bird species can help us appreciate the beauty and complexity of nature. The Brazilian Tinamou, also known as the Rusty Tinamou or Small-billed Tinamou, is a bird species found in South America.

The bird belongs to the family Tinamidae, which consists of different species of tinamous known for their small wings, short bills, and excellent ground-adapted features like walking and running. In this article, we will discuss the Systematics history of the Brazilian Tinamou, its geographic variations, subspecies, related species, and historical changes in distribution.

Systematics History

The Brazilian Tinamou was first described scientifically by the German ornithologist Jean Cabanis in 1848. Initially, it was thought to be the same species as the Red-winged Tinamou, later identified as a separate species by William Swainson in 1837.

With the advancement of technology, new subfamilies for Tinamiformes were established based on DNA and molecular systematics, resulting in the Brazilian Tinamou being classified under the subfamily Rhynchotinae.

Geographic Variation

Geographic variation among Brazilian Tinamous has been documented in South America, though taxonomic treatment of these variations has been controversial. BirdLife International recognizes three distinct populations.

These include populations found in northern Colombia and western Venezuela, western Brazil and eastern Peru, Bolivia, and western Paraguay. Studies have also shown that some of these populations overlap.


When different geographic populations are recognized as having recognizable differences, these are named as subspecies. Currently, three subspecies of the Brazilian Tinamou are recognized:

– C.

s. panamensis – Panama

– C.

s. strigulosus – Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, classed as Least Concern

– C.

s. similis – Amazon Basin of Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay

Related Species

The Brazilian Tinamou is part of a group of neotropical birds called the tinamous. Tinamous are phylogenetically grouped into three main lineages Crypturellus, Nothura, and Tinamus.

The Brazilian Tinamou belongs to the Crypturellus genus and is one of the most diverse genera of tinamous, with 47 recognized species that are widely distributed across South and Central America.

Historical Changes to Distribution

The Brazilian Tinamou has undergone several historical and contemporary changes in distribution. BirdLife International projects an estimated range of 13,500,000 km for the species, which has remained relatively steady over the years.

However, some studies show that Brazilian Tinamous have decreased in specific regions within its range, like northern Colombia due to habitat loss and hunting.

In recent years, habitat fragmentation and destruction have been the primary cause of the decline of the Brazilian Tinamou populations.

These threats have led to population decline, range contraction, and the reduction of its genetic diversity in some areas. Human activities like agriculture, deforestation, urbanization, and mining have significantly influenced the bird’s geographical distribution.


In summary, the Brazilian Tinamou is a unique bird species with a rich Systematics history. Its geographic variations, subspecies, and related species make it an interesting subject for taxonomists.

Habitat loss and hunting have led to the decline of the bird’s populations in some regions with implications for the whole species. More studies and conservation efforts are necessary to understand distribution changes and prevent further population decline.

Ultimately, we must maintain the ecological balance and biodiversity of the natural habitats of this species to conserve avian diversity for future generations. The Brazilian Tinamou is a bird species that is found in South America.

The bird is known for its excellent ground-adapted features, such as walking and running. In this article, we will discuss the habitat of the Brazilian Tinamou as well as their movements and migration patterns.


The Brazilian Tinamou is distributed throughout South America, with habitat preferences that vary across its range. The bird species can be found in a wide range of habitats, including tropical forests, savannas, and grasslands.

They are commonly found at low elevations, but some populations thrive in areas as high as 3000 meters above sea level. Brazilian Tinamous are ground dwelling birds that mostly inhabit areas with abundant shrubs and small trees, which provide cover and food.

They forage on the ground for fruits, seeds, and insects.

Movements and Migration

The Brazilian Tinamou is a non-migratory bird species, but it has been known to move to different habitats in response to food availability. During periods of drought or other food shortages, these birds may move to areas with better food resources.

Mating and breeding are also factors that can influence the movements of Brazilian Tinamous, as males may travel to find a suitable mate or defend a breeding territory. Territoriality is an important part of the Brazilian Tinamou’s movements, with males defending exclusive territories during the breeding season.

These territories are usually in areas with abundant food resources and suitable cover for nesting. The males will often display territorial behavior to keep out other males, including vocalizations, furtive movements, and chases.

Although Brazilian Tinamous are non-migratory, some individuals may disperse from their natal range, resulting in colonization of new areas. These events can provide valuable insights into the bird species’ range expansion patterns and population genetics.

Additionally, habitat destruction has led to the fragmentation of Brazilian Tinamou populations in some regions, resulting in further genetic diversification and range contraction.

Conservation efforts to protect the Brazilian Tinamou’s habitat are essential for maintaining the genetic diversity of the species, as well as the connectivity among populations that allows for successful movement.

Additionally, research on the movements and migration patterns of these birds may provide valuable information for future conservation measures.


In conclusion, the Brazilian Tinamou is a ground-dwelling bird species that is widely distributed across South America. The bird is non-migratory but can move within a range to find better food resources or suitable breeding habitats.

Habitat destruction has impacted these movements and fragment populations, highlighting the importance of conserving their habitat. Further research on the movements and migration patterns of Brazilian Tinamous may provide valuable insights for conservation efforts and the maintenance of the species’ genetic diversity.

The Brazilian Tinamou (Crypturellus strigulosus) is a ground-dwelling bird species that is widely distributed across South America. In this article, we will discuss the diet and foraging behavior as well as vocalization and vocal behavior of the Brazilian Tinamou.

Diet and Foraging

The Brazilian Tinamou is a opportunistic omnivore, having a diverse diet, depending on its habitat and availability of food. As a ground-dwelling bird, their foraging strategy revolves around walking on the forest floor, scratching the leaf litter or digging shallow soil in search of fruits, seeds, insects, and even small invertebrates.

They also are known to eat small reptiles and amphibians occasionally.


Brazilian Tinamous typically forage alone or in pairs and often feed early in the morning or late in the afternoon. They prefer to feed in areas with abundant shrubs and small trees that provide cover and a source of food.

The birds require water for drinking and utilize mud puddles or small streams to access it.


Their diet varies within their range with differences in abundance of plant and animal resources. Brazilian Tinamous feed on fruit and seeds of trees and shrubs, infrequently feeding on sprouts and herbs.

Some studies suggest that insects, especially ants and termites, make up a significant portion of their diet as they provide a protein-rich meal.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

Furthermore, Brazilian Tinamous are endothermic, meaning that they can regulate their internal temperature. They employ a variety of thermoregulatory adaptations, such as behavioral modifications, like changing postures and seeking shade.

They also utilize their metabolic heat to adjust their body temperature at night, preventing hypothermia that may lead to death.

Sounds and Vocal


The Brazilian Tinamou has a distinctive call, which is a series of loud, cackling sounds resembling a chicken or turkey. The vocalization is generated by inflating the air sac behind their neck, making the sound resonate throughout their body sound chambers, producing a loud and clear noises.

They vocalize mostly in early morning or late evening, near the breeding season. However, research suggests that males may call at any time, especially during territorial disputes.

Males use their vocalizations to attract females and establish territories. The display and vocalization can also signal to other males that they are strong and capable of defending their territory.

Additionally, the Brazilian Tinamou-chicks vocalize while still embryos to indicate hatching signals to their siblings and parents. The vocal imprinting among siblings and parents has an evolutionary impact on social bonds and dispelling intra-species aggression.


In summary, the Brazilian Tinamou is an opportunistic omnivore with a diverse diet that varies within their range and the availability of food. Their foraging behavior involves scratching through the leaf litter or digging shallow soil to search for food.

They are adapted to regulate their internal temperature utilizing both behavioral and metabolic adaptations. Furthermore, the species has distinctive vocalizations used for territorial defense and breeding displays as well as early communication while still eggs.

Understanding the diet and foraging behavior, and vocalizations of Brazilian Tinamou is key to conserving their habitats and promoting the survival of the species. The Brazilian Tinamou, also known as the Rusty Tinamou or Small-billed Tinamou, is a ground-dwelling bird species commonly found in South America.

In this article, we will discuss the behavior, breeding, demography and population of the Brazilian Tinamou.


Locomotion: Brazilian Tinamous use their strong and long legs and toes to facilitate locomotion on the ground. Their legs are located towards the back of their bodies, which allows a rapid response to any predator or threat.

Their toes are elongated and flexible, supporting efficient movement even in dense environments. They are capable of running up to 24 mph for short distances to evade terrestrial predators.

Self-Maintenance: Brazilian Tinamous are self-groomers; they spread their wings and tails, shaking off dust and parasites. They also utilize dust baths to clean their feathers or to chase off ectoparasites like fleas, ticks or beetles, to avoid disease, and discomfort.


Behavior: Brazilian Tinamous are territorial and demonstrate agonistic behavior to defend their territory. Males will engage in aggressive behavior, such as vocalizations, chasing, or physical combat to maintain their territory and mate.


Behavior: Brazilian Tinamous initiate courtship by the male vocalizing, strutting, and display of plumage. Females select males based on their behavior and courtship display.

During the breeding season, they will establish and seek exclusive committed territories. The male usually courts a female within his territory.

Once the female accepts and collars with the male, they form monogamous pairs, which may continue into different breeding seasons.


The breeding season of Brazilian Tinamous is based on the availability of nesting materials and favorable weather conditions. The season typically starts during late summer or in early winter, then may extend to the spring equinox as it is influenced by the tropical climate.

The pair may construct a depression in the ground, will use gathered dry vegetation, grasses, and leaves for nesting material. Upon successful courtship, the female gives up the male and initiates the nesting activities.

Brazilian Tinamous are precocious birds, meaning that at hatching, the chicks can move around without assistance, find food, and stay alert to predators. The chicks remain with the female until they become juvenile birds capable of self-sustenance.

Demography and Populations

Brazilian Tinamous are considered avian fauna with robust populations as it is divided into discrete populations spread across its very wide range. Currently, the populations are considered relatively stable, and IUCN Red List considers the Brazilian Tinamou’s conservation status as least concern.

The species is distributed in various vegetation types and habitat structures, allowing them to be resilient to anthropogenic disturbances. However, habitat loss and deforestation in some areas have led to the fragmentation and displacement of populations and ecosystems.


In conclusion, Brazilian Tinamous have evolved unique behavioral traits to adapt to their habitats, like their advanced running capability, self-grooming, agonistic behavior, and sexual and breeding behavior. They incubate their eggs in a depression built in the ground with nests constructed from gathered vegetation.

The wide range of forest habitats over their distribution range allows them to maintain a stable population, but habitat loss from deforestation remains a salient threat to some populations.

Breeding behavior and establishment of committed territories have promoted monogamous bonding between pairs and initiated social behavior that has helped ensure species’ survival.

In conclusion, the Brazilian Tinamou is an incredibly adapted bird species that has developed unique behaviors to adapt to its environment. Their diverse diet, efficient locomotion, self-maintenance, and complex sexual and breeding behavior have all been shaped by their environment.

Understanding their behavior and ecological interactions is critical to conserving the species. The Brazilian Tinamou provides an excellent example of the ornithological complexity that is unique to South American fauna.

Conservation measures must prioritize the conservation of habitats to maintain the wide range of forest areas and ecosystems necessary for the survival of this species in the long-term. The Brazilian Tinamou’s robust population across its expansive range is a testament to their resilience despite challenges to their habitat.

It is paramount that we continue to study and monitor these birds to ensure their survival and promote the ecosystems that depend on their presence.

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