Common Perdiz (Spotted Tinamou)

Common Perdiz (Nothura maculosa) is also known as a Spotted Tinamou or Spotted Nothura. Perdiz means “partridge” in Spanish. This small game bird is buff and measures less than a foot in length. Their plumage is tan, brown, and dark brown. The majority of their torso plumage is simply, yet intricately streaked. This characteristic is created by the inner parts of the feathers displaying chestnut and dark brown blocks that are outlines in a light tan or cream color. Everything from their neck to the beak is long and elegant, with the beak also being somewhat thin. Their brown eyes appear a bit large in comparison to their head’s size. The rest of their body is rotund and contrasts sharply from the elongated upper body. Leg and feet color can range from tan to brown. Plumage does vary greatly within their range, which includes 9 recognized subspecies.

Common Perdiz are found in dry savannas, temperate grasslands, and pastureland from eastern and southern Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and north Argentina. They normally do not take advantage of these habitats if they are near coastlines. In these areas, individuals will forage for both plant and animal matter. The main staple of their diet includes seeds, though individuals near pastureland will also eat ticks.

Female perdiz mature very quickly, becoming sexually mature and ready to breed two months after hatching. Females can have up to six broods a year. Their quick reproduction rate is one reason why they are a popular bird to hunt and hunting is used as a conservation management tool. Males typically are the only ones that incubate and rear the young, which is uncommon in most bird species. The eggs of many tinamou species are very colorful and tend to not blend into the environment. Researchers hypothesize the blatant color entices the males to sit on them to hide them from potential threats. This then allows the female to seek another mate to continue laying eggs. Spotted Tinamou eggs vary in color over their range, but are mostly dull gray or brown.

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