Andean tinamou

Nothoprocta pentlandii

At the Zoo

You can find our tinamous in the mixed-species aviary next to Komodo Alley.

Fascinating Facts

Physical Characteristics

They are small, plump birds that are similar in size to quail. They have a short tail and rounded wings but are able to fly short distances. Their pointed bill curves slightly downward. Coloration varies between each subspecies but most are brownish grey and speckled or streaked with white on the upperparts. The breast is buff, cream or gray. A small crest of feathers runs along the top of the head. Male and female birds are similar in size and markings, while juveniles are paler in color.

Lifespan is unknown.


This species is found in along the Andean Mountains in western South America from Ecuador to central Chile. They live in montane scrub and grassland from 5,000 to 13,000 feet. They are terrestrial and prefer the cover of vegetation.

Andean tinamou feed on seeds, shoots, buds, small fruits, and insects. They also swallow pebbles to help break down food.

Social Behavior

Little is known about their social behavior in the wild due to their elusive nature. Some birds are solitary while others may forage in small groups or in flocks of up to 100.

Breeding takes place from November to February; during this time males will establish and defend their territories. Tinamou nests are typically found under low vegetation and consist of a shallow depression lined with straw. Females will mate with more than one male so that eggs are laid in several nests. Males are thus responsible for incubating a clutch of 6-15 reddish brown eggs for 20-22 day. Chicks are precocial and leave the nest shortly after hatching to forage with the male. Young are independent by 1-2 months.

Status In The Wild

Andean tinamous are listed as least concern by the IUCN. They are common throughout their range and have stable populations.

Animals & Exhibits