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Elegant Crested-Tinamou Eudromia elegans

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


Geographic Variation

Up to 10 subspecies of Eudromia elegans are recognized (Banks 1977, Blake 1977). Broadly speaking, these subspecies fall into two groups (Short 1975, Banks 1977). The southern group (albida, wetmorei, devia, numida, multiguttata, elegans, and patagonica) are darker, with small dorsal spots, have more extensive barring ventrally, are more finely vermiculated, and have relatively short wings; the northern group (magnistriata, intermedia, and riojana) are paler, the dorsal markings are more blotchy rather than spotted, the ventral barring is less extensive, and the wings are longer (Banks 1977).

intermedia, described as Calopezus intermedius (Dabbene and Lillo 1913); type locality Colalao del Valle, Tucumán, Argentina

Occurs in northwestern Argentina in northern and central Salta, western Tucumán, and adjacent northeastern Catamarca (Banks 1977, Blake 1979)

Similar to riojana, "but much darker and grayer dorsally, with narrower bars on the chest and a grayer neck" (Banks 1977).

magnistriata, described as Eudromia elegans magnistriata Olrog 1959; type locality Pinto, Aguirre, Santiago del Estero, Argentina

Occurs in northwestern Argentina in southern Santiago del Estero, northernmost Córdoba, and possibly in adjacent Tucumán, Catamarca, and Santa Fe.

This subspecies "has large spots dorsally and extremely wide bars on the breast. The dorsal background coloration is grayish brown as in numida to the south rather than the rich brown of formosa [Quebracho Crested-Tinamou] and in contrast to the sandy brown of riojana and intermedia" (Banks 1977). This is the population that was incorrectly identified as formosa by earlier authors (Paters 1931, Hellmayr and Conover 1942, Conover 1950).

riojana, described as Eudromia elegans riojana Olrog 1959; type locality Guayapa, Estación Patquía, La Rioja, Argentina

Occurs in western Argentina in La Rioja (Banks 1977, Blake 1979).

"Larger and paler than races to the south. The ventral bars are mainly restricted to the chest, only sporadically appearing in the lower flank feathers. Browner, less gray, than intermedia" (Banks 1977).

albida, described as Calopezus elegans albidus (Wetmore 1921); type locality San Juan, Argentina

Occurs in west central Argentina southern San Juan, extreme northern Mendoza, and adjacent San Luis (Banks 1977, Blake 1979)

Subspecies albida is "very pale above, with buffy to whitish spotting; unbarred abdominal area large and pale, rufescent buff to buffy white" (Banks 1977).

wetmorei, described as Eudromia elegans wetmorei Banks 1977; type locality Tunuyán, Mendoza, Argentina

Occurs west central Argentina in north central Mendoza (Banks 1977, Blake 1979).

This subspecies "differs from E. e. albida to the north by being darker both above and below; ventral barring more extensive and ground color more rufescent. Differs from devia to the south in being darker below with more extensive barring on the lower flanks and abdomen, and darker and browner above, with the neck brown rather than gray. From elegans, wetmorei differs in the browner ground color of the breast, brown rather than grayish neck. Paler than numida ventrally, with heavier shaft streaking on breast feathers" (Banks 1977). Subspecies wetmorei was considered a synonym of nominate elegans by Navas and Bo (1981), but was recognized by Dickinson and Remsen (2013).

devia, described as Eudromia elegans devia Conover 1950; type locality Chos-Malal, Río Neuquén, Neuquén, Argentina

Occurs in western Argentina in western Neuquén and probably in southwestern Mendoza (Banks 1977).

"Upper parts browner and buffier than patagonica, elegans, and multiguttata; paler and less heavily barred below than these races and numida, with a larger unbarred abdominal area. Neck grayer than in [wetmorei] ... and abdomen less heavily barred" (Banks 1977).

numida, described as Eudromia elegans numida Banks 1977; type locality west of Telén, La Pampa, Argentina

Occurs in central Argentina in central and eastern La Pampa, southern Córdoba, southeastern Mendoza, and probably southern San Luis (Banks 1977, Blake 1979).

Subspecies numida is "light brown dorsally, lighter than in multiguttata and less gray than elegans; similar to multiguttata in the reduction of shaft stripes of feathers of the neck, mantle, and chest, but neck paler and grayer than that form. Lighter, more buffy below than multiguttata, but abdomen darker than elegans. Darker and browner above, and darker below than populations to the northwest" (Banks 1977). Subspecies numida was considered a synonym of nominate elegans by Navas and Bo (1981), but was recognized by Dickinson and Remsen (2013).

multiguttata, described as Eudromia elegans multiguttata Conover 1950; type locality Cambaceres, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Occurs in east central Argentina in Buenos Aires north of the Río Colorado, and in extreme southeastern La Pampa.

This is "the darkest brown dorsally of the races, with reduced shaft stripes on feathers of the neck, mantle, and chest. Underparts dark, heavily barred" (Banks 1977).

elegans, described as Eudromia elegans Geoffroy Saint-Hillaire 1832; type locality Bahía de San Blas, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Occurs in south central Argentina from eastern Neuquén south hrough most of Río Negro and in extreme southern Buenos Aires (Banks 1977, Blake 1979).

This subspecies is "light brownish-gray dorsally, lighter and grayer than multiguttata, browner than patagonica; grayer than forms to the northwest, with abdomen more heavily barred" (Banks 1977).

Includes morenoi Chubb 1917.

patagonica, described as Eudromia elegans patagonica Conover 1950; type locality Estación Pampa Alta, Ferrocarril Patagonica, Santa Cruz, Argentina

Occurs in southern Argentina in southern Neuquén and southwestern Río Negro south through Chubut and Santa Cruz, Argentina, and in adjacent Chile.

Subspecies patagonica is "dark olive gray dorsally, with prominent dark shaft streaks on feathers of the foreneck and chest. The shaft streaks of feathers of the hindneck are also more prominent than in other forms, and the ventral surface is more heavily and extensively barred" (Banks 1977).

Related Species

Eudromia elegans is closely related to Eudromia formosa (Quebracho Crested-Tinamou), but these two species are parapatric or perhaps narrowly sympatric in Salta, Argentina (Eisenmann in Meyer de Schauensee 1966, Banks 1977). Short (1975) considered the two species of Eudromia to constitute a superspecies.

Monophyly of the genus Eudromia is well-supported by analyses of both morphological and genetic characters (Bertelli et al 2002, Bertelli and Porzecanski 2004). Eudromia is sister to Tinamotis (Bertelli et al 2002, Bertelli and Porzecanski 2004).

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.