Spotted Nothura Nothura maculosa


Justification of Red List Category
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). The population trend appears to be decreasing however, the species does not 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.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as common (Stotz et al. 1996).

Trend justification
This species is one of the most common tinamous. Its range is currently expanding owing to deforestation and agricultural conversion. Despite being a popular sporting bird, effective hunting controls exist in much of its range and high reproductive potential means it is able to tolerate present hunting levels (del Hoyo et al. 1992). However, the shift towards more intensive arable production and the expansion and intensification of grazing and row crop practices is leading to a decline in suitable habitat for this species and it has become increasingly scarce throughout a significant proportion of its range as a result (Thompson and Carroll 2009). A slow population decline is therefore suspected.

Distribution and population

The species occurs from central Argentina through Uruguay and Paraguay to northeast Brazil, with the range expanding as forest is converted to grassland and agriculture.


This species is a generalist, feeding and nesting in a diverse range of open habitats (Cabot et al. 2019a). It naturally occurs throughout arid and semi arid grassy savanna, barren shrub, shrub-steppe and sometimes open woodland (Cabot et al. 2019a,b). Recent agricultural expansion has led to a diversification of habitats (Thompson and Carroll 2009), and the species is now utilising agricultural and pasture lands, including fields of soybean, millet, wheat and rice (dry-grown) and recently burnt areas to a greater degree (Cabot et al. 2019a). The species is mainly restricted to the lowlands below 500 m, but reaches up to 2,000 m and 2,300 m in south-west Argentina and north-west Argentina respectively.


This species is one of the most important terrestrial game birds in the region and hence is widely hunted. However, effective hunting controls and high reproductive potential potential render this a low threat (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Thompson and Carroll 2009, Cabot et al. 2019a). Whilst deforestation and the expansion of farmed land is considered to be increasing habitat availability, the intensification of agriculture throughout the region is resulting in the species becoming more scarce throughout its range, and hence presents a serious threat to its persistence in the future (Thompson and Carroll 2009).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway

Effective hunting controls exist throughout much of the range.

Conservation Actions Proposed

Prevent future habitat degradation due to agricultural intensification.


23-26.5cm; male 152–292 g, female 164–316 g. Forehead and crown are brownish to rufous-brown with black spots and bars; otherwise, plumage is ochraceous buff above, neck with darker markings, upperparts with darker feather centres; below, chin and upper throat white, foreneck buffish-ochre with dark streaks, chest light ochraceous buff with small dark brown spots and streaks, rest of underparts ochraceous, paler on abdomen, flanks with dark bars; iris yellowish; bill grey to brownish above, yellowish below; legs yellowish-flesh. Sexes alike, immature undescribed (Cabot et al. 2019a).


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Everest, J., Ekstrom, J., Martin, R.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Nothura maculosa. Downloaded from on 27/05/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/05/2020.