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Version 1.0

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Slaty-breasted Tinamou Crypturellus boucardi

Vitor Gomes, R. Bribiesca-Formisano, Claudia I. Rodríguez-Flores, Carlos A. Soberanes-González, and Marîa del Coro Arizmendi
Version: 1.0 — Published January 10, 2014



Feeding habits

Slaty-breasted Tinamous forage on the ground, moving erratically with jerky motions of the head and body. The bird usually advances with the head held low, but periodically stands erect. The pace of movement while foraging varies considearably: a bird that is calling may move a great deal and forage hastily, gleaning a food item only every 3 m or so; but at other times these tinamous may forage for several hours in a area of only 12.5-16.7 m2 (15 to 20 square yards), especially at midday. This tinamou uses the bill to toss leaves and twigs aside, but it does not use its feet to scratch in the leaf litter (Lancaster 1964a).

Alarm behavior

When alarmed, a tinamou may react in one of three ways (Lancaster 1964a): freeze, walk or run steathily away, or take flight.


The flight of Slaty-breasted Tinamou is direct and strong, but these tinamous do not fly far. Tinamous take flight with rapid, loud wingbeats and then glide to the ground some distance away. Lancaster (1964a) followed one bird flying a distance between 30 and 40 m and recorded flights at heights estimated at six and seven meters.


Slate-colored Tinamou roosts on the ground (Lowery and Dalquest 1951).


Slaty-breasted Tinamou is territorial, although the size of the home range is large (11.3-19.0 ha, or 28-47 acres), and males often range over a wider area than is defended (Lancaster 1964b). Boundaries are poorly defined and the regions of overlap can be extensive (Lancaster 1964b).

Sexual Behavior

Slaty-breasted Tinamous are polygynous; one male mates with two to four females. Furthermore, both sexes breed several times in a single season: females mate with and lay eggs for several different males, and a male may incubate several clutches in succession (Lancaster 1964b).

The distance maintained between the individuals of a mated group varied greatly, with a mated male and female at times foraging within 1.5-4.5 m of one another, but females mated to the same male may forage anywhere from 6-100 m apart (Lancaster 1964b).

Social and interspecific behavior

Outside of the breeding season (see Sexual Behavior), Slaty-breasted Tinamou generally is solitary. Lancaster (1964a) occasionally observed "fortuitous" foraging associations between a Slaty-breasted Tinamou and individuals of Great (Tinamus major) or Little (Crypturellus soui) tinamous. Slaty-breasted Tinamous occasionally cross paths with, but otherwise do not associate with, other species that forage on the forest floor, such as Gray-headed Dove (Leptotila plumbeiceps) and Black-faced Antthrush (Formicarius analis). Tinamous also may encounter other species at ant swarms (Lancaster 1964a).


Recommended Citation

Gomes, V., R. Bribiesca-Formisano, C. I. Rodríguez-Flores, C. A. Soberanes-González, and M. d. C. Arizmendi (2014). Slaty-breasted Tinamou (Crypturellus boucardi), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.slbtin1.01