Great tinamou

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Great tinamou
Tinamus majorPCSL00504B.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Tinamiformes
Family: Tinamidae
Subfamily: Tinaminae
Genus: Tinamus
Species: T. major
Binomial name
Tinamus major
(Gmelin, 1789 [originally Tetrao])[2]
Sub-species

T. m. percautus (Van Tyne, 1935)[2]
T. m. robustus (Sclater & Salvin,1868)[2]
T. m. fuscipennis (Salvadori, 1895)[2]
T. m. castaneiceps (Salvadori, 1895)[2]
T. m. brunniventris (Aldrich[disambiguation needed], 1937)[2]
T. m. saturatus (Griscom, 1929)[2]
T. m. latifrons (Salvadori, 1895)[2]
T. m. zuliensis
(Osgood & Conover, 1929)[2]
T. m. major (Gmelin, 1789)[2]
T. m. olivascens (Conover, 1937)[2]
T. m. peruvianus (Bonaparte, 1856)[2]
T. m. serratus (Spix, 1825)[2]

Synonyms

The great tinamou (Tinamus major) also called mountain hen[4] is a species of tinamou ground bird native to Central and South America. There are several subspecies, mostly differentiated by their coloration.

Description[edit]

Great tinamou are approximately 44 cm (17 in) long, 1.1 kg (2.4 lb) in weight and size and shape of a small turkey. It ranges from light to dark olive-green in color with a whitish throat and belly,[4] flanks barred black, and undertail cinnamon. Crown and neck rufous, occipital crest and supercilium blackish. Its legs are blue-grey in color. All these features enable great tinamou to be well-camouflaged in the rainforest understory.

The great tinamou has a distinctive call, three short, tremulous, but powerful piping notes which can be heard in its rainforest habitat in the early evenings.[4]

Subspecies T. m. castaneiceps

Taxonomy[edit]

All tinamous are from the family Tinamidae, and are the closest living relatives of the ratites. Unlike ratites, tinamous can fly, although in general, they are not strong fliers. All ratites evolved from prehistoric flying birds.[4]

There are twelve sub-species

Johann Friedrich Gmelin identified the great tinamou from a specimen located in Cayenne, French Guyana, in 1789.[4]

Mating[edit]

The picture at the right is a polygynandrous species, and one that features exclusive male parental care. A female will mate with a male and lay an average of four eggs which he then incubates until hatching. He cares for the chicks for approximately 3 weeks before moving on to find another female. Meanwhile, the female has left clutches of eggs with other males. She may start nests with five or six males during each breeding season, leaving all parental care to the males. The breeding season is long, lasting from mid-winter to late summer. The eggs are large, shiny, and bright blue or violet in color, and the nests are usually rudimentary scrapings in the buttress roots of trees.[4]

Except during mating, when a pair stay together until the eggs are laid, great tinamous are solitary and roam the dark understory alone, seeking seeds, fruit, and small animals such as insects, spiders, frogs and small lizards in the leaf litter. They are especially fond of Lauraceae, annonaceae, myrtaceae, sapotaceae.[4]

A nest of eggs.

Habitat[edit]

Great tinamou lives in subtropical and tropical forest such as rainforest, lowland evergreen forest, river-edge forest,[3] swamp forest and cloud forest at altitudes from 300–1,500 m (1,000–4,900 ft). Unlike some other tinamous, the great tinamou isn't as affected by forest fragmentation.[1] Its nest can be found at the base of a tree.

Conservation[edit]

This species is widespread throughout its large range (6,600,000 km2 (2,500,000 sq mi)),[6] and it was evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.[1] They are hunted with no major effect on their population.[4] In 2012 the species was reclassified as Near Threatened.[7]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c BirdLife International (2012). "Tinamus major". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Brands, S. (2008)
  3. ^ a b American Ornithologists' Union (1998)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Davies, S. J. J. F. (2003)
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Clements, J (2007)
  6. ^ BirdLife International (2008)
  7. ^ "Recently recategorised species". Birdlife International. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]