Elegant-Crested Tinamou Fact File
The elegant-crested tinamou is a species of bird found in parts of South America.
These birds are reluctant to fly and as such will spend their days on the ground seeking out food such as fruit, grains, insects, flower buds and seeds.
Females will lay a number of green eggs but the male then takes on responsibility for incubating the eggs and then caring for the chicks.
They are decreasing in number across their range but are still considered common.
Read on to learn more about these brilliant birds.
What does the elegant-crested tinamou look like?
The most notable feature of these birds is the small forward-curving crest of feathers on top of the head.
Across the rest of their body these birds are light or dark brown with white spotting across their wings. Behind the eye is a pair of light stripes.
As an adaptation to their mostly ground-dwelling lifestyle these animals lack a hind toe giving them only three toes.
They have brown eyes and a short blackish bill.
An average elegant-crested tinamou will measure 37-41cm (14.5-16in) long with a weight between 400 and 800g (14-29oz). Males and females are similar in their appearance though females are often larger.
What does the elegant-crested tinamou eat?
These animals are omnivores. Their diet includes fruit, grains, flower buds, seeds and invertebrates. During summer when insects are more common they will focus on this food.
Pebbles are swallowed by elegant-crested tinamous to help them to break down their food.
Credit: DickDaniels (http://carolinabirds.org/), CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Where can you find the elegant-crested tinamou?
South America is the native home of the elegant crested tinamou. Here they can be found in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.
What kind of environment does the elegant-crested tinamou live in?
They make their home in savanna, shrubland, steppe, woodland and grassland habitats.
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How does the elegant-crested tinamou produce its young?
These animals will breed from September to March. Some pairs produce two clutches in the same season. It is common for this species to breed with multiple partners in the same season.
When seeking out a mate they will stretch their neck and bow down in front of the potential partner. Prior to the season they will call. Females will chase potential mates until they chase her back.
They will deposit their eggs in to a hole in the ground which serves as the nest. This is dug with their feet and located under a low bush or at the base of a tree.
Males undertake the incubation of the eggs across the 20-21 day gestation period. These eggs are colored bright green and laid in clutches of 5 or 6. They have an oval shape and uniform color with no blotching.
Young are able to feed almost as soon as they emerge from their egg. Males are responsible for the care of the young. He will hide his chicks under his wings to protect them.
At hatching chicks are covered by soft, downy feathers with dull coloration.
Young achieve their independence between 3 and 4 months old.
What does the elegant-crested tinamou do with its day?
These birds will move around in groups which may include 50-100 members.
Elegant-crested tinamous will rarely fly instead running along the ground to get away.
They produce a range of vocalizations including a short cluck.
When not feeding elegant-crested tinamous will rest and undertake a dust bath. This process serves to remove the parasites which are found in their plumage.
Credit: Quartl, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Predators and Threats
What is impacting the survival of the elegant-crested tinamou?
Natural predators of the elegant-crested tinamou include skunks, foxes, cats and birds of prey including the red-backed hawk.
While no estimate of their population has been made the species is currently believed to be decreasing in population. Despite this the species remains common across its range.
The male is known as a cock and the female as a hen. Young are known as chicks.
These birds are closely related to flightless birds and are considered rather primitive.
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