Neotropical Birds logo
Version 1.0

This is a historic version of this account.  Current version


Andean Tinamou Nothoprocta pentlandii

Vitor Gomes and Guy M. Kirwan
Version: 1.0 — Published March 14, 2014


Welcome to Birds of the World!

You are currently viewing one of the free accounts available in our complimentary tour of Birds of the World. In this courtesy review, you can access all the life history articles and the multimedia galleries associated with this account.

For complete access to all accounts, a subscription is required.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Distinguishing Characteristics

Tinamous are stocky terrestrial birds with very short tails and rounded wings; they superficially resemble tailless quail. Andean Tinamou is a medium sized steppe tinamou with a slightly curved bill, and a slightly crested appearance. The plumage is geographically variable, but all Andean Tinamous have a streaked appearance on the upperparts, and the breast is spotted with white; in many subspecies the breast also is gray. The sexes are alike.

Similar Species

Ornate Tinamou (Nothoprocta ornata) is larger than Andean Tinamou, has a plain (unspotted) breast, and the sides of the head are spotted (not streaked). Ornate Tinamous also usually occurs at higher elevations. Brushland Tinamou (Nothoprocta cinerascens) is a lowland species and is much larger, with paler upperparts, more prominent barring on the flanks, and has dark gray or brownish tarsi. Curve-billed Tinamou (Nothoprocta curvirostris) may overlap locally with Andean Tinamou in some intermontane valleys but is slightly larger, is blacker above, is tawnier and more heavily marked on breast, and has rufous the on inner remiges. Taczanowski’s Tinamou (Nothoprocta taczanowskii) is much larger, with largely gray appearance and a longer, more strongly curved bill. Pale-browed Tinamou (Crypturellus transfasciatus) is larger, has red tarsi, has a prominent pale supercilium, and the upperparts are barred, not streaked. Nothuras (Nothura) are much smaller and stubbier with a shorter bill. Huayco Tinamou (Rhynchotus maculicollis) is much larger with plain, long rufous neck and rufous primaries.

Detailed Description

The following description is based on Blake (1977); see also Geographic Variation:

Adult: Sexes similar. Feathers of crown brown with black centers, the crown often appearing spotted or barred. Sides of head grayish, mottled with white or light buff; there is a dusky streak behind the eye. The upperparts are mainly grayish brown to olivaceous brown, narrowly streaked with white or buff, the centers of the feathers barred and vermiculated with black. Remiges dusky brown, the outer webs notched with white or buff. Throat white, pale buff, or pale mottled gray. Foreneck and breast bluish gray or grayish, tinged with brown, and spotted with white or buff. Belly and lower underparts creamy white, pale buff, or pale ochraceous, darkest on sides and flanks, where sometimes obscurely barred.

Immature: Essentially the same as the adult, but the pale spots on the breast are interspersed with dark bars and vermiculations.

Downy chick: Has a streaked pattern. The head is dotted irregularly with black, brown and white (Jehl 1971).



Bare Parts

Iris: brown

Bill: maxilla dusky brown; mandible pale chestnut

Tarsi and toes: pale yellow

Bare parts color data from Blake (1977).


Total length: 25-30 cm (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990), 25.5-29 cm (Blake 1977), 28 cm (Jaramillo 2003)

Linear measurements (from Blake 1977):


male (n = 1, type)

wing length (flat): 146 mm

bill length (exposed culmen): 24 mm

tarsus length: 40 mm


male (n = 6)

wing length (flat): mean 146.5 mm (range 141-151 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 24.8 mm (range 22-29 mm)

female (n = 6)

wing length (flat): mean 151 mm (range 144-159 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 25.6 mm (range 22-30 mm)

niethammeri (n = 3; sex?)

wing length: range 139-147 mm


male (n = 1)

wing length (flat): 159 mm

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 26 mm

female (n = 3)

wing length (flat): mean 164 mm (range 155-174 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 26.6 mm (range 25-28 mm)


male (n = 10)

wing length (flat): mean 144.6 mm (range 140-149 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 23.3 mm (range 21-25 mm)

female (n = 10)

wing length (flat): mean 149.2 mm (range 143-155 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen): mean 24.8 mm (range 23-26 mm)

doeringi (n = 9; sex?)

wing length (chord): mean 135.4 mm (range 123-143.2 mm)

bill length (from point of 'V' formed by the cere): mean 23.3 mm (range 21-25.1 mm)

mendozae (n = 6; sex?)

wing length (chord): mean 139.3 mm (range 134.5-145.7 mm)

bill length (from point of 'V' formed by the cere): mean 26.9 mm (range 26.3-27.6 mm; n = 5)


oustaleti, male: mean 348.6 g (range 328.5-368.8 g, n = 2; Koepcke 1968)

oustaleti, female: range 301.9-361.2 g, n = 4; Koepcke 1968)

niethammeri, male: 299.5 g, n = 1; Koepcke 1968)

niethammeri, female: 271.6 g, n = 1; Koepcke 1968)

pentlandii, sex?: mean 280.0 g (range 255-305 g, n = 2; Banks and Bohl 1968)

doeringi, sex?: mean 265.7 g (range 211-330 g, n = 10; Banks and Bohl 1968)

mendozae, sex?: mean 339.9 g (range 301-384 g, n = 14; Banks and Bohl 1968)

Recommended Citation

Gomes, V. and G. M. Kirwan (2014). Andean Tinamou (Nothoprocta pentlandii), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.andtin1.01