Red-winged Tinamou (Rhynchotus rufescens)

Red-winged Tinamou

[order] TINAMIFORMES | [family] Tinamidae | [latin] Rhynchotus rufescens | [authority] Temminck, 1815 | [UK] Red-winged Tinamou | [FR] Tinamou isabelle | [DE] Pampahuhn | [ES] Tinamu Alirrojo,Inambu Colorado (Arg, Bo), | [NL] Pampa-hoen


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. Rhynchotus is a genus of birds in the Tinamou family. This genus comprises two members of this South American family.

Physical charateristics

The Red-winged Tinamou is approximately 40 cm in length. Its upperparts are brown barred with black and buff. The crown is mottled black, the throat is whitish, the foreneck and breast are cinnamon, and the remainder of the underparts are grey-brown barred with black on the belly and flanks. The curved bill is horn-coloured with a blackish culmen. Its common name refers to the bright rufous primaries, which mainly are visible in flight. Juveniles are duller.

Listen to the sound of Red-winged Tinamou

[audio: Tinamou.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 38 cm size max.: 42 cm
incubation min.: 19 days incubation max.: 21 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


South America : East, Southeast, Southcentral


At low altitudes, below 1000 m, it lives in damp grassland and woodland edges; at higher altitudes it is found in semiarid scrub and cereal fields.


The red-winged tinamou has many displays, the male attracting one or more females by follow feeding, and always accompanies the female to the nest when she is to lay. Nest is a depression in the ground lined with leaves and twigs. The clutch size is 3-5 red to purple eggs which are incubated for about three weeks.

Feeding habits

Its diet varies by season; it taking insects and other small animals (even small mammals) in the summer, and switching to vegetable matter, such as fruits, shoots, tubers and bulbs, in the winter. It can be an agricultural pest, feeding on cereals, rice and peanuts, as well as being predatory, taking poisonous snakes and even jumping up into the air to snatch an insect off a leaf.

Video Red-winged Tinamou


copyright: Jose del Hoyo


This species has an extremely 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.
The call, given only by males, is a long, ringing single whistle followed by shorter, mournful whistles. The birds live dispersed in the dense vegetation, and are most active in the heat of the day.
Red-winged Tinamou status Least Concern


Sedentary in all of its range, but not well known.

Distribution map

Red-winged Tinamou distribution range map

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