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Tinamous: Tinamidae

Physical Characteristics

Tinamous (TIN-ah-mooz) range in size from 8 to 21 inches (20 to 53 centimeters) and weight from 1.4 ounces to 5 pounds (43 grams to 2.3 kilograms). They have a compact body, thin neck, a small head with a beak that curves slightly downward, short wings and tail, and fly infrequently. They have thick, medium-length legs with three toes pointing forward and one pointing backward. They also have a preen gland that secretes an oil they use for grooming.

Tinamous are various shades or gray or brown, with streaky, barred, or mottled patterns. Their coloring is cryptic, meaning it helps them blend in with their surroundings. This makes them harder to be detected by predators, including humans, foxes, armadillos, and skunks. Females are generally larger than males and have somewhat brighter feather coloring.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsTinamous: Tinamidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Tinamous And People, Conservation Status, Highland Tinamou (nothocercus Bonapartei): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET