Family Tinamous (Tinamidae)


Grey Tinamou (Tinamus tao)


French: Tinamou tao German: Taotinamu Spanish: Tinamú tao

Tinamus tao


, 1815,

Pará, Brazil


Race kleei intergrades with larensis in SC Colombia and with nominate tao in W Brazil#R. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. t. septentrionalis Brabourne & C. Chubb, 1913 – N & NE Venezuela (S Miranda, Sucre, N Monagas) and (possibly extinct) N Guyana.
  • T. t. larensis Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1949 – patchily in N & C Colombia (Santa Marta and E Andes) and NW & NC Venezuela (Sierra de Perijá, and Táchira NE to Lara and Distrito Federal).
  • T. t. kleei (Tschudi, 1843) – SC Colombia and E Ecuador S through E Peru to N, C & E Bolivia and W Brazil.
  • T. t. tao Temminck, 1815 – NC Brazil S of Amazon (E to NW Maranhão and C Goiás).
  • Descriptive notes

    42·5–49 cm; male 1325–1863 g, female 1430–2080 g. The largest tinamou. Nominate race has forehead to hindneck slate-grey with brownish spotting,... read more


    Short hoot, usually singly, rarely a series of up to four, often repeated intermittently for... read more


    Tropical and subtropical rainforest on E slopes of Andes up to 1900 m, also cloudforest in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly fruit, also seeds, insects, molluscs and a few small vertebrates.


    Season Jan–Mar in Colombia, Jun in Venezuela. Nest with 3 eggs found in Mato Grosso, N Brazil, in Aug; in S Ecuador, mating... read more


    Presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    VULNERABLE. Uplisted from Least Concern in 2012. Generally rather uncommon, throughout its extensive range: for example, very rare and local in Ecuador, rare in Colombia and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cabot, J., Jutglar, F., Garcia, E.F.J., Boesman, P. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Grey Tinamou (Tinamus tao). 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 29 February 2020).