Brown Tinamou Crypturellus obsoletus

  • Order: Tinamiformes
  • Family: Tinamidae
  • Polytypic: 9 subspecies
  • Authors: Vitor Gomes



The behavior of Brown Tinamou is poorly known. As is typical of most species of forest-inhabiting tinamous, Brown Tinamou is secretive and is seen only infrequently, and only for brief periods. It forages on the forest floor, presumably primarily by gleaning from the ground, where it pecks at prey and turns the leaf litter with its bill (Willis 1983).


There is very little published data on territorial defense, maintenance, or home range size for Brown Tinamou. One estimate is that a minimum of 20 ha is necessary to support two or three pairs of Brown Tinamous (Magalhães, in Frisch and Frisch 1964).

Sexual Behavior

Undescribed for Brown Tinamou. From what is known of the breeding system of other species, "the general rule among tinamous is simultaneous polygyny for males and sequential polyandry for females" (Cabot 1992).

Social and interspecific behavior

Brown Tinamou usually is solitary or in pairs (Belton 1984, Sick 1993).


Röhe and Antunes (2008) encountered a Barred Forest-Falcon (Micrastur ruficollis) on the ground stripping the neck feathers from a live Brown Tinamou while grasping the tinamou's upperparts. When disturbed by the observers, the forest-falcon attempted to fly away carrying the tinamou, but was unable to lift the prey. The tinamous showed no external evidence of injury but, after the falcon released it, the tinamou remained on its back, unable to move.

Recommended Citation

Gomes, V. (2014). Brown Tinamou (Crypturellus obsoletus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.