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Highland Tinamou Nothocercus bonapartei

  • Order: Tinamiformes
  • Family: Tinamidae
  • Polytypic: 5 subspecies
  • Authors: Vitor Gomes and Guy M. Kirwan

Also known as the Bonaparte’s Tinamou, this species is, as its vernacular name suggests, principally a highland bird. Although its overall altitudinal range extends from 500 m to 2500 m, Highland Tinamou mainly occurs above 1500 m, where it prefers wet areas in dense, tall undergrowth of humid forests, including cloud forests. The geographical range of Highland Tinamou includes montane Costa Rica and western Panama, and it occurs again from northern Venezuela south to extreme northern Peru. The plumage is principally reddish brown, becoming browner over much of the upperparts, with a dark gray crown and sides of the neck. The breeding system of Highland Tinamou is rather better known than many other forest-based tinamous. Each male sings near constantly at the height of the breeding season, sometimes establishing more than one calling arena, linked by paths kept clear of leaves and other debris by the male’s regular activity. Highland Tinamou is polygynous, with several females mating with a single older male, and all of them laying in one nest, giving a total of 4–10 eggs. Young males, however, reportedly only pair with a single female.

Song (South American)

© Paul A. Schwartz

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Gomes, V. and G. M. Kirwan (2014). Highland Tinamou (Nothocercus bonapartei), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.