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Elegant Crested-Tinamou Eudromia elegans

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



Feeding habits

Elegant Crested-Tinamous are terrestrial. In addition to gleaning food from the ground, they also jump up to take leaves, flowers, and fruit (Bohl 1970). These tinamous do not scratch the ground in search of food (as do many species of gallinaceous birds) (Bohl 1970).

These tinamous forage most actively early in the morning and again in late afternoon, although foraging occupies a greater part of the day during the winter months. At midday, when not foraging, Elegant Crested-Tinamous often seek shade and rest or dust bathe (Bohl 1970).


Elegant Crested-Tinamous can cover large distances in search of food, but where food is prevalent may remain in a small area day after day. As is typical of tinamous, these birds prefer to walk, and usually take flight only when startled at close range.


Elegant Crested-Tinamous fly rapidly, within 3-6 m of the ground, and in a direct line (Wetmore 1926, Bohl 1970). Bouts of rapid wingbeats are interspersed with glides (Wetmore 1926). The flight distance is from 30-270 m (Bohl 1970).

Alarm Behavior

Elegant Crested-Tinamous are extremely wary where they are hunted. When alarmed, these tinamous may stand very erect, and then retreat to cover; walk behind vegetation and peer around the cover; flatten itself on the ground; or bow the head down almost to the level of the feet and walking or slink away (Bohl 1970).

Resting and Roosting

Elegant Crested-Tinamous usually seek shelter in shade during the middle of the day, where birds rest or dust bathe. During rest periods Elegant Crested-Tinamous also often sun themselves for short periods before returning again to the shade (Bohl 1970).

Elegant Crested-Tinamous roost on the ground. In Patagonia, Bohl (1970) found roosts primarily on the north side of low brush or grass clumps, apparently for protection against the strong southern winds. The roost bowl is dug with its feet, the the bird move continuously in a circling motion while the feet kick dirt to the edges, forming a bowl (Bohl 1970).


There are no published data on territorial defense, maintenance, or home range size for Elegant Crested-Tinamou.

Sexual Behavior

Elegant Crested-Tinamou females are polyandrous and the males are polygynous (Bohl 1970). Males establish calling areas, within which the male digs a nest bowl; females, in groups of two or three, visit the calling male for copulation and egg laying (Bohl 1970).

Females are dominant over males in initial interactions between the sexes, establishing dominances with an aggressive attitude: a very upright stance, widely flared crest feathers, and strong guttural calls, sometimes even flailing at the male with the wings (Bohl 1970). The male becomes more dominant, however, as the female becomes receptive to copulation. The male approaches closely to the female, walking around her in tight circles, with his body in an extremely erect position, and while vocalizing with a high-pitched twittering call (Bohl 1970).

Social and interspecific behavior

Nonbreeding Elegant Crested-Tinamous frequently form flocks, which may number up to 30-40 (rarely even up to 100) birds (Bohl 1970, Gallardo 1984).


Potential predators of Elegant Crested-Tinamou include  foxes, skunks, opossums, armadillos, hawks, falcons and owls (Bohl 1970). Bohl (1970) reported observations of a Chimango Caracara (Milvago chimango) eating an egg of the tinamou, and of a Southern Caracara (Caracara plancus) attacking an adult.

Eggs from crested-tinamou nests also are harvested by humans, both for personal consumption and for market (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.