Ornate Tinamou (Nothoprocta ornata)

Ornate Tinamou

[order] TINAMIFORMES | [family] Tinamidae | [latin] Nothoprocta ornata | [authority] Gray, 1867 | [UK] Ornate Tinamou | [FR] Tinamou orne | [DE] Pisacca-Steisshuhn | [ES] Inambu Serrano Grande, Tinamu Pisacca | [NL] Pisacca-tinamoe


Monotypic species


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. Nothoprocta is a genus of birds belonging to the tinamou family Tinamidae. They inhabit scrubland, grassland and open woodland in western South America, particularly in the Andes. They are poor fliers and spend most of their time on the ground. They are medium-sized tinamous with strong legs and fairly long, downcurved bills. The plumage is mostly grey-brown with intricate black, white and buff markings.

Physical charateristics

The Ornate Tinamou is approximately 32 cm in length. Its upperparts are brownish-grey marked with black and buff, tawny-buff below and barred darker. Its head and neck buff prominently spotted with black, with bill slender and curved, legs either yellowish or greyish

Listen to the sound of Ornate Tinamou

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/TINAMIFORMES/Tinamidae/sounds/Ornate Tinamou.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 26 cm size max.: 29 cm
incubation min.: 22 days incubation max.: 24 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 9  


South America : Peru to North Chile and Northwest Argentina


The Ornate Tinamou Nothoprocta ornata is a type of Tinamou commonly found in the high altitude grassland and dry shrubland in subtropical and tropical regions up to 3450 to 4700 m altitude.


Most tinamous are polygamous, the exception is the ornate tinamou, of which a single male and female pair off. The male ornate tinamou incubates four to nine eggs from a single female. The ornate tinamou female aggressively defends the breeding territory, a task done by males in other tinamou species. Breeding occurs in Dec-Apr and Jun-Aug in Peru;southern spring and summer in Bolivia,Chile and Argentina. Nests are built concealed under a clump of grass or bush. The nests are substantial structures of circularly wrapped grass and rest on a foundation built up of dry earth or a mixture of earth and mossy turf. During courtship the members of a pair feed together, the male usually preceding. In display he raises the rump and displays the bright crissum. The female respondsw ith a short dash to a position in front of the male and squats. Mounting may follow. The male incubates the eggs alone and raises the chicks. Incubations lasts for about three weeks. The young leave the nest within a day after hatching.

Feeding habits

The feeding areas are usually low on the hillsides or along the valley floors. They feed on clover and other small leaves, buds, blossoms, fruits, berries, roots, pods, seeds, and sprouting seeds. Several species of beetles and caterpillars as well as grasshoppers and an ant have been found in the crop. Occasionally the birds move dried cow chips, apparently searching for insects.

Video Ornate Tinamou


copyright: Jose del Hoyo


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Ornate Tinamou status Least Concern


Sedentary in all of its range, but not well known. Forms small groups outside breeding season.

Distribution map

Ornate Tinamou distribution range map

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