Sunday, 26 December 2010

Great tinamou

Tinamus major

Photo by Anthony Villaume (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:

Order Tinamiformes
Family Tinamidae

The great tinamou is found in Central and South America, from Mexico in the north, down to Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, the Guyanas, Suriname and in northern and western Brazil.

These birds are 43-44 cm long and can weigh up to 1,1 kg.

They live in tropical and sub-tropical forests, namely rain forest, lowland evergreen forest, river-edge forest, swamp forest and cloud forest, at altitudes of 300-1500 m.

The great tinamou searches the forest leaf litter in search of seeds, fruits and small animals including insects, spiders, frogs and lizards.

These birds are polygynandrous. The female will mate with a male and lays 3-4 large, bright blue or violet eggs on a ground nest of rudimentary scrapings in the buttress roots of a tree. The male is then responsible for incubating and rearing the young, while the female starts nests with up to 6 other males. the eggs are incubated for 17 days and the male will take care of the young for 3 weeks after hatching, before moving on to find another female.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
Although the population is suspected to be in decline due to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of hunting. However, the current population size of 500.000-5.000.000 individuals and their very large breeding range justify that the species is not considered threatened at present.

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