Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Like other tinamous, the red-winged tinamou spends most of its time on the ground, preferring to freeze or run rather than fly when threatened. The rounded wings are relatively small, and flight can only be kept up for a short distance (2) (4) (8). Reported to be most active in the heat of the day, the red-winged tinamou feeds on a wide variety of both plant and animal matter, including fruits, seeds, shoots, roots, tubers, insects, worms and even small vertebrates. The diet varies seasonally, comprising mainly animal matter in the summer and vegetable matter in the winter when insects are scarce. The long beak is used to scratch at the ground and sweep away soil to uncover food, and the red-winged tinamou may even jump almost a metre in the air to pick insects from vegetation (2) (4). The breeding season is thought to vary with location, occurring from August to January in Brazil. The nest is a slight depression in the ground, excavated with the feet and lined with grass (2) (4). Unusually for a bird, it is the male tinamou that incubates the eggs and cares for the chicks. After laying up to five wine red, reddish purple or sometimes white eggs in the nest, the female red-winged tinamou leaves, and is likely to mate with further males and lay further clutches in different nests (2) (4) (8). More than one female may lay eggs in a single nest, and the male red-winged tinamou incubates the eggs for around 19 to 21 days (2) (4). If leaving the nest for any period, the male may cover the eggs with feathers (4). Young red-winged tinamous have red and white down, with black streaking, but reach adult-like plumage within about three weeks (2).
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Description

With the typical compact, rounded tinamou body shape, the red-winged tinamou is distinguished by its relatively large size and reddish-brown edges to the wing (2) (3), which are clearly visible in flight and which lend this bird its common name (4). The upperparts and wings are greyish-brown, marked with black and buff spots and bars, while the underparts, neck and head are light greyish-brown to buffy or whitish, with a creamy white throat. The small head bears a dark patch behind the eye, and a black crown, edged in buff, with a crest that can be erected. Like other tinamous, the tail is only rudimentary, and the yellowish legs are quite stout. The red-winged tinamou has a particularly long and slightly down-curving beak. Males and females are similar in appearance, and juvenile red-winged tinamous resemble the adults (2) (3) (4) (5). Three subspecies of red-winged tinamou are recognised, based on differences in colouration and barring (2) (3) (4) (5). A distinctive highland race, previously considered a fourth subspecies, is now classed as a separate species, Rhynchotus maculicollis (6) (7).
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Distribution

Range

The red-winged tinamou occurs in southern South America, east of the Andes, in Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina (2) (3) (5) (7). Rhynchotus rufescens rufescens is found in Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay, while R. r. catingae is restricted to central and northeastern Brazil, and R. r. pallescens to northern and central Argentina (2) (3) (4) (5).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Mainly inhabiting damp grassland and savanna woodland, the red-winged tinamou can be found at elevations of up to 2,500 metres or more (2) (3) (7).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

History
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Not Recognized (NR)
  • Not Recognized (NR)
  • Not Recognized (NR)
  • Not Recognized (NR)