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Sometimes known as Pale-spotted Nothura, Darwin’s Nothura was described from a specimen taken in southern Buenos Aires in Argentina, but its range stretches north as far as central Peru. This small tinamou is principally found in the highlands, from 1000 m up to at least 4300 m, and it inhabits savanna, shrubby steppe, and even cultivated areas. Locally, Darwin’s Nothura overlaps geographically with the similar Spotted Nothura (Nothura maculosa), but Darwin's generally occurs in drier habitats and at higher elevations. Five subspecies are recognized within the rather wide geographic range of this species, and these mostly differ in overall size and general coloration. Darwin’s Nothura nests on the ground, and the nest is apparently constructed by the male alone. The birds nest in the austral spring and summer, at least in the southern part of the range.