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Scientific classification

The Tinamous are one of the most ancient groups of bird, members of a South American bird family of about 46 species in 9 genera. Although they look similar to other ground-dwelling birds like quail and grouse, they have no close relatives and are classified as a single family Tinamidae within their own order order, the Tinamiformes.

Of ultimately Gondwanan origin, they are distantly related to the ratites, the order Struthioniiformes that includes the Rhea, Emu, and Kiwi. Although the fossil record in South America is generally poor (or perhaps largely undiscovered as yet), the known tinamou fossil record goes back 10 million years.

Together with the ratites, they make up the Paleognathae, or “Old Jaws”, as distinct from the vast majority of modern birds in the Neognathae , or “New Jaws”.

There are 46 species of tinamou in South America and north to Mexico, occurring in a wide range of habitats. They eat a variety of food including insects and berries.

Tinamou are rarely seen. Most inhabit the tropical lowlands of South America, typically in dark, dense forest, but some species range as far north as Mexico and occur in a wide range of habitats. They eat a variety of food including insects and berries.

Although some species are quite common, they are very secretive. A small number of species live in more open, grassy country, but even these are wary. Tinamous lay several eggs which are attractively coloured and have a hard gloss like porcelain. The young are precocial, and can run almost as soon as they hatch.

Species are:

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

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

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

  • Rhynchotus rufescens Red-winged Tinamou

  • Nothoprocta taczanowskii Taczanowski's Tinamou
  • Nothoprocta kalinowskii Kalinowski's Tinamou
  • Nothoprocta ornata Ornate Tinamou
  • Nothoprocta perdicaria Chilean Tinamou
  • Nothoprocta cinerascens Brushland Tinamou
  • Nothoprocta pentlandii Andean Tinamou
  • Nothoprocta curvirostris Curve-billed Tinamou

  • Nothura boraquira White-bellied Nothura
  • Nothura minor Lesser Nothura
  • Nothura darwinii Darwin's Nothura
  • Nothura maculosa Spotted Nothura
  • Nothura chacoensis Chaco Nothura

  • Taoniscus nanus Dwarf Tinamou

  • Eudromia elegans Elegant Crested Tinamou
  • Eudromia formosa Quebracho Crested Tinamou

  • Tinamotis pentlandii Puna Tinamou
  • Tinamotis ingoufi Patagonian Tinamou

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