Meaning of TINAMOU in English

any of 47 species of ground-dwelling birds found in Central and South America. Tinamous superficially resemble partridges and quail but have limited flight capability, preferring to walk or run rather than fly. Most inhabit forests, but some live in more open terrain. Drably coloured, tinamous blend into their surroundings, where they generally live alone or in small groups. The tinamou order has long interested scientists because many of the tinamous' features link them to the large flightless birds, or ratites (see ostrich, emu, cassowary, and rhea). The name is derived from a term used for the bird by a native tribe of the French GuianaSuriname border region. Tinamous, considered by hunters to be among the finest game birds in terms of sport as well as palatability, are heavily hunted in many parts of South America. Although market hunting has been curtailed by law, it is still practiced in some countries. Frozen tinamous from Argentina were once sold in the United States under the name South American quail. By the late 1990s only two species of tinamou were listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, but habitat destruction and heavy hunting have reduced a large number of populations. any of 46 species belonging to the Tinamiformes, an order of ground-dwelling, chickenlike birds inhabiting Central and South America. Although superficially resembling guinea fowl, tinamous are actually related to the much larger rheas. All tinamous are able to fly, although most of these short-winged birds commonly move by walking or running. Frequently, to escape predators, they crouch or seek shelter in holes rather than take flight. Most species sleep on the ground. Tinamous range in length from 15 cm (6 inches) in the dwarf tinamou (species Taoniscus nanus) to upwards of 50 cm (20 inches) in the larger species. They have short tails, which are all but hidden by their voluminous rump feathers. Both sexes are similar in their inconspicuous brown, gray, or rufous colouring, although females are somewhat more brightly coloured than males. The colour of the bill and legs is vivid in some species, e.g., the yellow-legged tinamou (Crypturellus noctivagus). Tinamous have small heads, long necks, and thick legs; the female is frequently larger. As many as 12 glossy and colourful (blue-green, purple, or pinkish) eggs are laid in the nest by one or more females. The male alone incubates the eggs and raises the young, although in the Andes the female of the ornate tinamou (Nothoprocta ornata) defends the nesting territory. In the solitary forest-dwelling variegated tinamou (C. variegatus), the female courts the male with a ritual display; in this species there are four times as many males as females, and they raise only one young at a time. Outside of breeding season, the martineta, or elegant crested, tinamou (Eudromia elegans) may gather in flocks of as many as 100 birds. Most tinamous, however, remain in small groups or alone. The call of the tinamou is loud and melodious, both day and night. Some tinamous are hunted for food. Additional reading Journal articles include Douglas A. Lancaster, Biology of the Brushland Tinamou, Nothoprocta cinerascens, Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 127:271314 (1964), a study of species that inhabit the lowlands east of the Andes in northern Argentina, living in thorn woodsone of the few comprehensive life histories of the tinamous; W. Beebe, The Variegated Tinamou, Crypturus variegatus variegatus (Gmeln), Zoologica, 6:195227 (1925); K.C. Parkes and G.A. Clark, Jr., An Additional Character Linking Ratites and Tinamous, and an Interpretation of Their Monophyly, Condor, 68:459471 (1966), showing that ratites and tinamous share a conformation of the rhamphotheca not found in other birds; and A.K. Pearson and O.P. Pearson, Natural History and Breeding Behaviour of the Tinamou Nothoprocta Ornata, Auk, 72:113127 (1955), the life history of a tinamou that lives in grass-covered hills of southern Peru at considerable heights in the Andes. See also Emmet R. Blake, Manual of Neotropical Birds, vol. 1 (1977), which includes descriptions, measurements, and distribution of the species. Helmut Sick The Editors of the Encyclopdia Britannica

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