Family Tinamous (Tinamidae)

Least Concern

Little Tinamou (Crypturellus soui)


French: Tinamou soui German: Brauntinamu Spanish: Tinamú chico

Tinamus soui


, 1783,



A geographically variable species, particularly in plumage coloration; large repertoire of songs and calls, some described only from particular areas#R. Several of listed races are clearly transitional; modestus intergrades with capnodes near Volcán de Chiriquí, and panamensis with caucae in extreme NE Chocó (NW Colombia)#R. Detailed revision required. Fourteen subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. s. meserythrus (P. L. Sclater, 1860) – S Mexico and Belize S to SE Nicaragua.
  • C. s. modestus (Cabanis, 1869) – Costa Rica and W Panama.
  • C. s. capnodes Wetmore, 1963 – NW Panama.
  • C. s. poliocephalus (Aldrich, 1937) – Pacific slope of W & C Panama.
  • C. s. panamensis (Carriker, 1910) – both slopes of C & E Panama into extreme N Colombia.
  • C. s. harterti (Brabourne & C. Chubb, 1914) – W Colombia, W Ecuador and NW Peru (Tumbes)#R.
  • C. s. caucae (Chapman, 1912) – N & NC Colombia (Magdalena Valley, and basins of R Cauca and R Sinú to E Chocó).
  • C. s. mustelinus (Bangs, 1905) – NE Colombia and NW Venezuela.
  • C. s. andrei (Brabourne & C. Chubb, 1914) – NE Venezuela and Trinidad.
  • C. s. soui (Hermann, 1783) – E Colombia E to the Guianas and NE Brazil.
  • C. s. caquetae (Chapman, 1915) – SE Colombia.
  • C. s. nigriceps (Chapman, 1923) – E Ecuador and NE Peru.
  • C. s. inconspicuus Carriker, 1935 – C & E Peru S to E Bolivia.
  • C. s. albigularis (Brabourne & C. Chubb, 1914) – N & E Brazil S of Amazon (R Madeira E to N Maranhão and Pernambuco, and S to Mato Grosso, Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro).
  • Descriptive notes

    21·5–24 cm; male 165–204 g, female 174–268 g. Grey-headed, small tinamou with small bill, plumage lacking bars or other bold markings. Male nominate... read more


    Series of long, mournful, tremulous whistles on somewhat rising scale, falling at end.   read more


    Tropical and lower subtropical forest in dry or humid regions; prefers dense undergrowth of forest... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits and berries, tubers and seeds, especially of Ciperaceae; also important are insects, including ants (Formicidae), termites (Isoptera... read more


    Breeds throughout year in Costa Rica and Suriname; recorded in May, Aug and Oct in Trinidad and Tobago; Feb–Aug in Panama. Nest a... read more


    Presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The commonest tinamou in Central America and often fairly common throughout its South American range. Main threat is habitat... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cabot, J., Jutglar, F. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Little Tinamou (Crypturellus soui). 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).