Family Tinamous (Tinamidae)

Near Threatened

Great Tinamou (Tinamus major)


French: Grand Tinamou German: Großtinamu Spanish: Tinamú oliváceo

Tetrao major

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,



Amazonian races peruvianus and serratus previously treated as a separate species#R. Twelve subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. m. robustus P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1868 – SE Mexico (Veracruz, N Oaxaca) S to E Guatemala and N Honduras.
  • T. m. percautus Van Tyne, 1935 – SE Mexico (Yucatán Peninsula), N Guatemala (Petén) and Belize.
  • T. m. fuscipennis Salvadori, 1895 – N Nicaragua S to NW Panama.
  • T. m. castaneiceps Salvadori, 1895 – SW Costa Rica and SW Panama.
  • T. m. brunneiventris Aldrich, 1937 – SC Panama.
  • T. m. saturatus Griscom, 1929 – E Panama and NW Colombia.
  • T. m. latifrons Salvadori, 1895 – SW Colombia and W Ecuador.
  • T. m. zuliensis Osgood & Conover, 1922 – NE Colombia E to N, C & S Venezuela.
  • T. m. major (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – E Venezuela, the Guianas and N Brazil (E of R Negro).
  • T. m. peruvianus Bonaparte, 1856 – SE Colombia and E Ecuador S to NE Bolivia and extreme W Brazil.
  • T. m. serratus (Spix, 1825) – NW Brazil (R Içá E to R Negro).
  • T. m. olivascens Conover, 1937 – Amazonian Brazil S of R Amazon.
  • Descriptive notes

    40–46 cm; male 700–1142 g, female 945–1249 g. Large brownish tinamou with barred upperparts, whitest on throat and central belly. Nominate race has forehead... read more


    Melodious song consisting of a pure whistle followed by a quavering trill, repeated several times.... read more


    Dense primary and secondary rainforest, both terra firme and várzea, in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Berries, fruits and seeds, especially those of families Sapotaceae, Myrtaceae, Annonaceae and Lauraceae; also nuts; also small terrestrial... read more


    Season mainly Jan–Jul, locally (e.g. Suriname) to Sept, where may nest throughout year. Nest a scrape on ground between buttress... read more


    Presumably sedentary. Sometimes emerges into clearings or forest tracks.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Uplisted from Least Concern in 2012: based on a model of future deforestation in the Amazon basin, and the... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cabot, J., Jutglar, F., Garcia, E.F.J., Boesman, P. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Great Tinamou (Tinamus major). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 18 February 2020).