Black Tinamou Tinamus osgoodi


Justification of Red List category
Although recent records indicate that this species's range is larger than previously thought, it has been retained as Vulnerable because new observations regarding the level of hunting pressure experienced by the species, in addition to ongoing habitat loss and degradation, suggest that its population is undergoing a rapid decline.

Population justification
Based on the recorded population densities of closely-related species (Tinamus tao: 1 individual/km2 and Crypturellus soui: 2 individuals/km2 in Peru (Terborgh et al. 1990)) and the area of mapped range (28,700 km2), and assuming that the range is between 10.3% and 11.28% occupied, the population is estimated to fall within the band 2,956 - 6,475 individuals, roughly equating to 1,971 – 4,317 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,900 – 4,400 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The species's population is suspected to be undergoing a rapid decline, based in part on recent observations regarding the level of hunting pressure in some areas (Gastañaga et al. 2007, R. MacLeod and M. Gastañaga in litt. 2011), in addition to ongoing habitat loss and degradation.

Distribution and population

Tinamus osgoodi has an apparently highly disjunct range in the Andes of northern and central South America. Subspecies hershkovitzi occurs on the western slope of the East Andes in Huila, Colombia, where its current status is unknown (last seen in 1976, according to Hilty and Brown 1986). Records from the northern Central Andes of Antioquia, Colombia, in 1999-2000 (A. Cuervo in litt. 1999, Cuervo et al. 2008) are considered hypothetical (Fundación ProAves de Colombia 2011). In August 2001, a bird was reported from Shishicho, just north of Puerto Libre, Ecuador, near the border with Colombia (T. S. Schulenberg in litt. 2001, Pitman et al. 2002). This represents the first sight record for the country, following a sound recording of a bird at the Loreto Road, Napo, in June 1998 (D. M. Brinkhuizen in litt. 2011, Brinkhuizen and Córdova Saeteros 2011). In December 2008, an individual of this species was photographed in the Cordillera de Huacamayos, Napo, providing evidence that the birds found in Ecuador belong to subspecies hershkovitzi (Brinkhuizen and Córdova Saeteros 2011). There are reports that the species was photographed by camera traps near the Loreto Road in the relatively new Narupa Reserve during 2009, and there are undocumented reports that this species has been heard and photographed using camera traps at the base of Sumaco Volcano (D. M. Brinkhuizen in litt. 2011, Brinkhuizen and Córdova Saeteros 2011). The increasing number of records from Ecuador suggest that the species's range is more extensive and less disjunct than previously thought (Brinkhuizen and Córdova Saeteros 2011). The nominate form occurs on the eastern slope of the Andes in Cuzco, Puno and Madre de Dios, south-eastern Peru, where it has been described as common (at least until 1958), fairly common and uncommon at three known locations (Clements and Shany 2001). A sizeable population may exist in Manu National Park, Madre de Dios and Cuzco. It was found to be "remarkably abundant" in the Megantoni Reserved Zone (Vriesendorp et al. 2004). It was more recently found in a fourth area, the isolated Cerros del Sira in Huanaco, central Peru, where at least five birds were seen and further individuals were heard during biological inventories in 2005-2006 (Gastañaga et al. 2007). A report from 2007 concerns a single bird at 419 m in Yanachaga-Chemillén National Park (O. Gonzalez in litt. 2011). In addition, unpublished records exist from Parque Nacional Madidi in La Paz Department, Bolivia (T. Valqui pers. comm. per Vriesendorp et al. 2004).


This is a poorly known species of premontane and montane humid forest, including 'valley cloud forest' (stunted, moss-enshrouded trees) in Madre de Dios (P. Champlin in litt 1998), and may require primary forest (A. Cuervo in litt. 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). The northern subspecies is known from 1,400-2,100 m, whereas the nominate subspecies is generally found at 600-1,650 m. In Peru, breeding-condition specimens have been taken in March-November and a quarter-grown chick was collected in February. One specimen had its stomach and crop full of nuts.


Most intermontane foothill forest in Colombia has been cleared for agriculture and human settlement, and the rate of habitat loss has increased recently with improvements to the road network in Huila (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). Opium plantations are spreading, even within Cueva de los Guácharos National Park, Huila (Wege and Long 1995, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). In its Peruvian range, human settlement and agricultural development of forests occurs largely below 900 m. However, oil exploration is taking place in the foothills of south-east Peru, and roads built to facilitate this are being settled (H. Lloyd in litt. 1999). It is hunted for food (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999) and is a favourite target for hunters in the Sira Mountains, some of whom enter the area exclusively to hunt the species (Gastañaga et al. 2007). Observations suggest that the species is uncommon or absent in areas frequented by hunters, and hunters themselves report having to go ever higher into the mountains to find the species (R. MacLeod and M. Gastañaga in litt. 2011). The rate of habitat loss in north-eastern Ecuador is increasing rapidly, driven by logging and conversion to cattle pastures and cultivation (D. M. Brinkhuizen in litt. 2011).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway

The species has been recorded in several protected areas, across all three range states. There are several records from in and around Manu National Park (P. Champlin in litt. 1998). Subspecies hershkovitzi has been recorded in Cueva de los Guácharos National Park, Huila (Hilty and Brown 1986). Sira Mountains are included in Sira Communal Reserve but this does not provide effective protection against hunting (Gastañaga et al. 2007). The recently created Megantoni Reserved Zone may be a "main population centre" for this species, since it is "remarkably abundant" here (Vriesendorp et al. 2004).

Conservation Actions Proposed

Search for additional populations, especially in less surveyed areas (H. Lloyd in litt. 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). Investigate the taxonomy of the disjunct populations (A. Cuervo in litt. 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). Incorporate the Tavara-Candamo area into Bahuaja-Sonene National Park (H. Lloyd in litt. 1999). Control tourism in the foothills of south-east Peru (H. Lloyd in litt. 1999). Support conservation education programmes (H. Lloyd in litt. 1999), particularly to prevent hunting in the Cerro del Sira.


40-46 cm. Large, blackish tinamou. All blackish except sooty belly and rufescent, barred black undertail. Voice Mournful, tremulous, descending whistle lasting about one second.


Text account compilers
Harding, M., Taylor, J., Wheatley, H., Benstead, P., Clay, R.P., Sharpe, C.J., Symes, A.

Brinkhuizen, D., Champlin, P., Cuervo, A., Gastañaga, M., Gonzalez, O., Lloyd, H., MacLeod, R., Salaman, P.G.W. & Schulenberg, T.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Tinamus osgoodi. Downloaded from on 05/03/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 05/03/2024.