Variegated Tinamou (Crypturellus variegatus)

Variegated Tinamou

[order] TINAMIFORMES | [family] Tinamidae | [latin] Crypturellus variegatus | [authority] Gmelin, 1789 | [UK] Variegated Tinamou | [FR] Tinamou varie | [DE] Rotbrust-Tinamu | [ES] Tinamu Abigarrado | [NL] Bonte Tinamoe


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Crypturellus variegatus SA Amazonia, e Brazil


The tinamous of the genus Crypturellus are usually notoriously difficult to see. Most species of this family are polygamous, with the smaller males performing the domestic tasks and the eggs are beautifully coloured. Tinamous exhibit exclusive male parental care. This type of care is rarely found in birds and only in tinamous is present in all species of the order. In polygynandrous species, males accumulate eggs from several females in at least two different ways: in some species females form stable groups and cooperate to lay the clutch for a male, sometimes even laying replacement clutches together. In other species, multiple females lay eggs in a nest, but they
do not form associations or travel together before or after being attracted by the male.

Physical charateristics

The Variegated Tinamou is approximately 33 cm in length. Its upper back is rufous, lower back and wings black with conspicuous yellowish bands. Its throat white, neck and upper breast bright rufous, lower breast and belly buffish-white, flanks tinged cinnamon and lightly barred dusky. Its crown and sides of head are blackish with bill yellowish, legs greenish to yellowish-brown. It has a wailing whistle.

Listen to the sound of Variegated Tinamou

[audio: Tinamou.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: cm wingspan max.: cm
size min.: 28 cm size max.: 31 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 : Amazonia, East Brazil


Commonly found in lowlands of moist forest in subtropical and tropical regions at altitude 100 to 1,300m. Mainly found in forest clearings surrounded by dense vegetation


Like most of the Tinamou the female establishes a territory, attracts a male, lays one egg in a rudimentary nest, and leaves the male incubating while she departs to establish another territory and repeat the process.

Feeding habits

Mainly seeds and fruits, with few insects.

Video Variegated Tinamou


copyright: Jose de Alencar Bonafe


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 ratio of males to females reaches four to one in the variegated tinamou, which might explain why females lay a strain of broods which are cared for by the males. Breeds during the rainy season. In Surinam fairly uncommon and mostly observed in the interior.
Variegated Tinamou status Least Concern


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

Distribution map

Variegated Tinamou distribution range map

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