Solitary Tinamou (Tinamus solitarius)

Solitary Tinamou

[order] TINAMIFORMES | [family] Tinamidae | [latin] Tinamus solitarius | [authority] Vieillot, 1819 | [UK] Solitary Tinamou | [FR] Tinamou solitaire | [DE] Grausteiss-Tinamu | [ES] Tinamu Macuco | [NL] Kluizenaarstinamoe


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. Tinamous sleep on the ground at night. Exceptions are members of the genus Tinamus, which roost in trees, choosing horizontal branches or tangled lianas and perching without using the toes. This genus comprises the larger of the Tinamou species.

Physical charateristics

The Solitary Tinamou is a bird that is about 45 cm in length and has a rather pudgy stature. The bird has a coloration that can range between hues of deep green to reddish brown or rusty coloration. This coloration difference is often found between birds found in different areas such as the differences between those in Paraguay and Brazil. The Tinamou is also known by black barring that is found on the neck. This barring can be dark or lighter in coloration and often times is darker in lighter colored birds.

Listen to the sound of Solitary Tinamou

[audio: Tinamou.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 42 cm size max.: 48 cm
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South America : Southeast. Tinamus solitarius occurs in the Atlantic forest of east Brazil (Pernambuco to Rio Grande do Sul and inland to south Mato Grosso), south-east Paraguay and extreme north-east Argentina (Misiones). There are two subspecies, with the north-east Brazil race pernambucensis having suffered a marked range contraction: not more than 100 individuals were estimated in 1971; however a recent study suggests this may not be a valid taxon. The nominate race is rare throughout its range owing to hunting pressure and habitat loss, although it is still relatively common in several protected area


It is mostly found in lowland humid forest up to 1,200 m, preferring intact closed-canopy forest with little undergrowth. It is supposedly susceptible to forest fragmentation (each bird apparently requiring circa 30ha of primary forest), but there is a notable Paraguayan population in a small area of degraded forest, and it is seen regularly in secondary forest at one site in Argentina


When nesting the birds will often lay their eggs in a nest build on the ground floor. Since the bird flies poorly it is difficult for them to place their nests in trees. Often times the nest will simply be a pile of leaves on the ground with the bird not putting in nearly as much effort as much tree dwelling birds. When the eggs are laid they are normally blue in coloration and have an unusual shape to them that is different than most other birds. The eggs are highly attractive and colorful with a high gloss shell. During nesting the male Tinamou will typically cover the nest and take on the duties of keeping the eggs warm.

Feeding habits

The bird feeds mostly off of loose nuts and seeds but will also eat fruits that are available on the forest floors. Often times the birds can be found in areas where there are large numbers of tree animals as they rely on the shaking of the trees to knock down fruits and nuts as part of their diet.

Video Solitary Tinamou


copyright: groenelantaarn


This species qualifies as Near Threatened as declines in its population are suspected to approach the threshold for classification as Vulnerable.
Current key threats are illegal hunting, urbanisation, industrialisation, agricultural expansion, colonisation and associated road-building
Solitary Tinamou status Near Threatened


Sedentary in all of its range, but not well known

Distribution map

Solitary Tinamou distribution range map

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