Family Tinamous (Tinamidae)

Least Concern

Red-legged Tinamou (Crypturellus erythropus)


French: Tinamou à pieds rouges German: Rotfußtinamu Spanish: Tinamú patirrojo
Other common names: Colombian Tinamou (columbianus), Magdalena Tinamou (saltuarius), Santa Marta Tinamou, Perija Tinamou (idoneus)

Tinamus erythropus


, 1863,

Manaus, Brazil


Sometimes considered conspecific with C. atrocapillus or C. noctivagus, and there is much uncertainty and debate over taxonomic status of several related taxa within this group#R. Races columbianus, saltuarius and idoneus have all been considered full species, or alternatively races of other species (e.g. C. noctivagus, C. cinnamomeus, C. boucardi); cursitans and spencei have also been ascribed to other species; columbianus, idoneus and cursitans may group together, whereas saltuarius might belong with C. kerriae#R; detailed revision of the group required. Seven subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. e. columbianus (Salvadori, 1895) – NC Colombia (Córdoba, N Bolívar and N Antioquia).
  • C. e. saltuarius Wetmore, 1950 – NC Colombia (NW base of Sierra de Ocaña, in Magdalena Valley).
  • C. e. idoneus (Todd, 1919) – N Colombia (Atlántico E to Guajira and Sierra de Perijá) into extreme NW Venezuela (W Zulia).
  • C. e. cursitans Wetmore & Phelps, Jr, 1956 – N Colombia (W Arauca and extreme N Boyacá) and NW Venezuela (SW Táchira).
  • C. e. spencei (Brabourne & C. Chubb, 1914) – N Venezuela (C Falcón E to C Anzoátegui).
  • C. e. margaritae Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1948 – Margarita I (N Venezuela).
  • C. e. erythropus (Pelzeln, 1863) – NE Venezuela (Sucre, Monagas and NE Bolívar) to NE Brazil (N of Amazon, from R Branco and R Negro E to Amapá), Guyana and Suriname.
  • Descriptive notes

    27·5–31·5 cm; male c. 485 g. Male nominate race has blackish forehead and most of crown, becoming deep rufescent brown on nape and hindneck; upperparts... read more


    Distinctive 3-note whistle, “who, who-ah”, final note higher than preceding ones... read more


    Tropical and lower subtropical zones to 1700 m, mostly in thorny thickets, open forest, second... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly seeds, also some berries, snails (Gastropoda) and arthropods. Five stomachs examined contained mostly seeds (of three sizes), with... read more


    Season Jan–Sept in Colombia. Eggs light glossy pinkish-brown, yellowish-pink or reddish-grey. No other information available.


    Presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally fairly common; apparently maintains low densities. Complications of systematics have led to some confusion with other forms.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Cabot, J., Jutglar, F. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Red-legged Tinamou (Crypturellus erythropus). 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 9 April 2020).