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Elegant Crested-Tinamou Eudromia elegans

  • Order: Tinamiformes
  • Family: Tinamidae
  • Polytypic: 10 subspecies
  • Authors: Vitor Gomes


Distinguishing Characteristics

Tinamous are stocky, terrestrial birds with very short tails and rounded wings. The two species of crested-tinamous (Eudromia) are large tinamous with a long thin crest on the rear crown, and only three toes (lacking the hallux). Elegant Crested-Tinamou is generally olive gray, although the plumage is with black and white vermiculations. There also is a long whitish stripe that begins above the eye and continues down the side of the neck.

Similar Species

Elegant Crested-Tinamou differs from almost all tinamous in its body pattern and narrow long crest. The only similar species is the closely related Quebracho Crested-Tinamou (Eudromia formosa), which has more heavily mottled upperparts; longer, more well defined white stripes on the sides of the head and neck, with the longest such stripe reaching the base of the neck; unbarred inner webs to the primaries; and the presence of horizontal vermiculations along the breast streaks. There is little or no geographic overlap between these two species.

Detailed Description

The following description is based on Blake (1977); see also Geographic Variation:

Adult: Sexes similar. Upperparts generally pale grayish brown to blackish, profusely sprinkled with small white or buff spots, these spots larger on the wing coverts. Crown pale brown, finely streaked with black. There is a long (up to 75 mm long), narrow crest on the rear crown, the crest feathers black and curved forward at the tips. Auriculars dark, bordered above and below by a broad white stripe. Primaries blackish, barred with white on both webs, the markings on the outer webs broad and evenly spaced. Secondaries dusky brown, barred with light buff or white. Throat white. Sides of neck, foreneck, and breast whitish, more or less closely vermiculated or barred with black and scored with black shaft streaks. Center of underparts white to pale ochraceous buff, more or less heavily barred with black on breast, flanks, and undertail coverts, but the belly usually unmarked.

Immature: Very similar to adult, but crest brown; lower foreneck and breast grayish, with dark spots and white stripes. Belly purer white.

Downy chick: The upperparts are streaked. The darker feathers are barred subterminally with blackish brown, producing a slightly barred effect. The dorsal surface of the head and neck is flecked with gray and brown. The throat and the sides of the head are generally buffy white, but the lores are dark, and there is a brown stripe across the auriculars that extends to the side of the neck, and a prominent brown lateral throat stripe (Jehl 1971).


Little information. Bohl (1970) cites da Costa (1953) in reporting that first year Elegant Crested-Tinamous molt out of juvenile plumage February-May. Bohl (1970) also determined that there was a complete molt of the primaries in adults in May, but did not comment on body molt.

Bare Parts

Iris: caramel brown

Bill: graysish or black

Tarsi and toes: whitish or bluish gray

Bare parts color data from Bohl (1970) and Blake (1977).


Total length: 37.5-41 cm (Blake 1977), 39 cm (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990)

Linear measurements (from Blake 1977):


male (n = 2)

wing length (flat): mean 225 mm (range 221-229 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 26.5 mm (range 26-27 mm)

female (n = 3)

wing length (flat): mean 227.6 mm (range 216-235 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 26.3 mm (range 24-28 mm)


male (n = 2)

wing length (flat): mean 223.7 mm (range 210-237 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 29.5 mm (range 28-31 mm)

female (n = 1)

wing length (flat): 230 mm

bill length (exposed culmen): 31 mm


male (n = 1)

wing length (flat): 220 mm

bill length (culmen): mean 28 mm

tarsus length: 51 mm


male (n = 1)

wing length (flat): 230 mm

bill length (exposed culmen): 29

female (n = 2)

wing length (flat): mean 221 mm (range 211-231 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 29 mm (range 26-32 mm)


male (n = 8)

wing length (flat): mean 212.5 mm (range 202-222 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 23.3 mm (range 23-27 mm)

female (n = 9)

wing length (flat): mean 215.5 mm (range 206-224 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 25.5 mm (range 24-27 mm)


male (n = 5)

wing length (flat): mean 216.2 mm (range 212-221 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 26.6 mm (range 26-28 mm)

female (n = 4)

wing length (flat): mean 223.5 mm (range 221-226 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 26.3 mm (range 25-28 mm)


male (n = 4)

wing length (flat): mean 217.2 mm (range 213-221 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 25.7 mm (range 24-27 mm)

tarsus length (n = 1): 51 mm

female (n = 3)

wing length (flat): mean 215.3 mm (range 210-219 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 26 mm (range 25-27 mm)


male (n = 6)

wing length (flat): mean 209.3 mm (range 199-214 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 26.3 mm (range 25-28 mm)

female (n = 5)

wing length (flat): mean 214.8 mm (range 205-223 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 26.6 mm (range 24-30 mm)

tarsus (n = 1): 38 mm


albida, male: mean 676 g, maximum 695 g (Bohl 1970)

          female: mean 749 g, maximum 836 g (Bohl 1970)

elegans, male: mean 680 g, maximum 809 g (Bohl 1970)

          female: mean 709 g, maximum 892 g (Bohl 1970)

Recommended Citation

Gomes, V. (2014). Elegant Crested-Tinamou (Eudromia elegans), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.