Lesser Nothura (Nothura minor)

Lesser Nothura

[order] TINAMIFORMES | [family] Tinamidae | [latin] Nothura minor | [authority] Spix, 1825 | [UK] Lesser Nothura | [FR] Petit Tinamou | [DE] Wachtel-Steisshuhn | [ES] Tinamu Menor | [NL] Kleine Nothura


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Nothura minor SA se Brazil


Tinamous are paleognaths related to the flightless ratites. They are probably close in appearance to the flying ancestors of the ratites. Unlike other Ratites, Tinamous can fly, although in general, they are not strong fliers. Nothura is a genus of birds in the tinamou family. This genus comprises five members of this South American family.

Physical charateristics

Small rufescent tinamou. Chestnut crown with yellowish mottling. Warm buff face, paler throat. Yellowish-buff neck, spotted dark brown, becoming streaky towards breast. Rest of underparts pale buff with some brownish markings on flanks. Chestnut-brown upperparts barred rufous with creamy fringes. Rufous wings barred dusky. Yellow legs. Blackish bill. Brown iris. Similar spp. Spotted Nothura N. maculosa is less rufescent, has more contrasting white throat, and darker and heavier markings on neck. Voice Series of long, high-pitched and metallic peeeeep whistles, also faster and shorter notes. Different from usual trilling voice of N. maculosa

Listen to the sound of Lesser Nothura

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/TINAMIFORMES/Tinamidae/sounds/Lesser Nothura.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 18 cm size max.: 20 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
      eggs max.: 0  


South America : Southeast Brazil. Nothura minor has been recently recorded from very few sites over a large range in south-central Brazil, and one site, recently discovered in north-east Paraguay. There are post-1980 records from Brasilia, Emas and Serra da Canastra5 National Parks (Distrito Federal, Goias and Minas Gerais), IBGE Roncador Biological Reserve and Taguatinga6 (both Distrito Federal), Itapetininga Experimental Station and Itirapina Experimental Station (both Sao Paulo; it has not been recorded subsequently at Itirapina), and a 1970s record from Luziania (Goias). In Paraguay, the species was discovered in November 2001 at Laguna Blanca, San Pedro department, and subsequent surveys have revealed a minimum of 14 calling birds in three different areas. Even at these known sites, it occurs at relatively low densities (e.g. three calling birds in c.20 ha in Brasilia National Park) and is absent from much apparently suitable habitat. There are no recent records from Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul or a number of sites in the states mentioned above, indicating a potentially large contraction in range


In Brazil it favours ‘campo limpo’ grassland at 700-1,000 m, although the Paraguayan site is considerably lower (about 200 m a.s.l.), generally preferring scrubbier areas (campo sujo) than N. maculosa. It appears to prefer areas with a continuous cover of tall grasses and sedges, and has not been seen in recently burnt vegetation.


No data

Feeding habits

No data


Rapid and extensive conversion of cerrado grasslands is presumably causing a rapid population reduction in this small tinamou. The population is now likely to be small and fragmented over a large range, and the species therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.
Suitable grasslands have been rapidly destroyed by mechanised agriculture, intensive cattle-ranching, afforestation with non-native trees such as eucalyptus, invasive grasses, excessive use of pesticides and annual burning. By 1993, two-thirds of the Cerrado region had been heavily or moderately altered, with most of the destruction having occurred since 1950. Most of the known population is now in protected areas Breeding is probably October-February
Lesser Nothura status Vulnerable


Sedentary in all of its range, but not well known

Distribution map

Lesser Nothura distribution range map

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