Red-legged Tinamou

The Red-legged Tinamou, Crypturellus erythropus, is a dumpy, ground-dwelling bird found in the tropics and lower subtropics of northern South America in the Guyanas (French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname), Colombia, Venezuela and north-east Brazil, the north-east Amazon Basin. It is commonly found in dry forest and dry shrubland at altitude up to 1,300 m. However, it may also be found at humid forest habitats.

Description and ecology

The Red-legged Tinamou is superficially similar to a quail to which it is not related as it, along with other tinamous, belongs in the Paleognathae. Its total length is 27-32 cm. (10,5-12,5 in). Its upperparts are brownish and the grey chest contrasts clearly with the buff belly. The back and wings are barred, but this is faint (often barely visible) in the males. Additionally, the amount of barring to the upperparts varies among the subspecies. It is the only tinamou in its range with rosy-red legs.

As other tinamous, it is recorded infrequently, except by its whistling voice. It has been recorded feeding on seeds, berries, snails and insects. Little is known about its breeding behavior, but the glossy eggs are pale greyish lavender with a variable amount of pink suffusion.

Taxonomy and systematics

Red-legged tinamou subspecies are:

  • Crypturellus erythropus erythropus
  • Crypturellus erythropus cursitans
  • Crypturellus erythropus spencei
  • Crypturellus erythropus margaritae
  • Crypturellus (erythropus) saltuarius - Magdalena Tinamou
  • Crypturellus (erythropus) columbianus - Colombian Tinamou
  • Crypturellus (erythropus) idoneus - Santa Marta Tinamou

The taxonomy remains unclear, with some authorities considering the taxa saltuarius, idoneus, and columbianus as monotypic species rather than subspecies of the Red-legged Tinamou. The SACC rejected a proposal to elevate these to species status, arguing that the presently available data fail to support the split.

Additionally, several subspecies usually associated with the Red-legged Tinamou have been associated with other species in the past, especially the Thicket Tinamou, the Choco Tinamou and the Yellow-legged Tinamou.


The Red-legged Tinamou is uncommon to locally common in most of its range, but the Magdalena Tinamou is very rare (perhaps extinct), while the Colombian Tinamou is endangered. In both cases the main problem is habitat destruction, but hunting is another issue.



External links

Search another word or see Red-legged_Tinamouon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature