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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

Sounds and Vocal Behavior


The call of Slaty-breasted Tinamou is distinctly different from the calls of other Middle American tinamous. It is characterized by a pigeon-like quality that sometimes makes its source hard to locate. The call is described by Lancaster (1964a) as ah-oowah. Shortly after the call begins it slurs down about one quarter to one-half note, then slurs upward to the starting pitch. The second and third notes are slurred together, but a momentary break exist between the first and second notes. Unless one is fairly close to the calling male, this break or pause is not detected in some individuals. The call lacks the waver or tremor characteristic of some tinamou notes and is much lower in pitch. The duration of the call is about two seconds, sometimes closer to three seconds (Lancaster 1964a).

For a representative audio recording with sonogram, see audio

There are relatively long periods of calling of the males. There is some individual variation in the call, especially in frequency, such that songs of individual males can be distinguished by the human ear, although the songs of any given male demonstate little variability (Lancaster 1964a).

Calls of the female are recognizably different. The call of the female is more subdued, highly variable, and has a whining, nasal quality. The call of the female also often includes a greater number of notes than that of the male, and has a slightly higher pitch. The call of the female carries for a distance of up to 100 m, and is usually heard only when a male is nearby (Lancaster 1964a).

On occasions the female utters a call that was similar to that of the male. This vocalization usually heard is when the females begin to call in the afternoon in response to the call of a prospective mate. If a female is both some distance away from the male and not near other females, then her calls often have the same pattern as those of the male, but usually are slightly longer and more wavering.

The daily pattern of calling is similar to that found in many other species of tinamou. Calling is more frequent in the morning and evening than during midday. Slaty-breasted Tinamou is heard more often during the middle part of the day, however, than are other species of tinamou (Lancaster 1964a). The frequency of calling drops off sharply around 18:00 in Belize, which is when other species reach their peak of calling, and Lancaster (1964a) heard no Slaty-breasteds calling after 18:26.

In Belize the breeding season begins in January; males begin calling in late January and February (Lancaster 1964a).

Regardless of weather factors, one male might call most of the day while an adjacent male could be heard for only a few minutes. Neither cloud cover nor temperature seemed to affect daily calling (Lancaster 1964a).

Additional audio recordings of vocalizations of Slaty-breasted Tinamou can be heard at Macaulay Library, at xeno-canto, and at Internet Bird Collection.

Nonvocal Sounds

None reported, other than the sound of wingbeats with flushed (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