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Magdalena Tinamou

Topics: Birds of Colombia

The Magdalena Tinamou (Crypturellus (erythropus) saltuarius) is a member of one of the most ancient bird families, the tinamous. It is endemic to Colombia and may be extinct, since it has not been seen since the type specimen was collected in 1943.

It is sometimes treated as a distinct species, and sometimes as a subspecies of the Red-legged Tinamou. The SACC rejected a proposal to elevate it to species status, arguing that the presently available data fail to support the split. BirdLife International followed this treatment; hence the Magdalena Tinamou will be dropped from the 2007 IUCN Red List.


The Magdalena Tinamou is similar to Red-legged Tinamou. Its total length is approximately 27-32 cm. . It is a medium-sized, brown tinamou. Its upperparts are dark ruddy with black barring on rump, brown wings barred buff, paler underparts with dark barring on lower flanks and vent, white chin and greyish tinge to throat.


From historical reports of Mariquita, Neiva Department, it is believed that Magdalena Tinamou occurs in Ayacucho and Cesar in the Rio Magdalena valley, Colombia. It may still survive in the few remnant foothill forests on the western slope of the eastern Cordillera, and also on the eastern slope of the Serrania de San Lucas. The species has traditionally been considered to inhabit lowland dry forest and savannas. However, in 2002, it has been suggested that this species inhabits more humid, foothill forest. The Ayacucho specimen was taken at 150 m altitude.

Status and conservation

The Magdalena Tinamou is probably threatened from hunting and from forest clearance. It was found the habitat in which it was found has been heavily modified for agriculture. Large areas of the Magdalena valley had been converted to pasture or cultivated as early as the mid-18th century, and the remaining of wet forest was cleared during a government-sponsored colonisation and infrastructure development programme in the 1960s and 1970s. Flat alluvial portions of the valley are now used for intensive rice and cotton production, while undulating terrain has been converted to pastureland. This left only approximately 1-2 % of old secondary and primary forest. However, recent research collected information by local inhabitants suggesting that this bird still survives; tinamous are notoriously cryptic and not easily found.See Donegan et al. (2003) for details.

No conservation effort is currently underway. However, it was proposed to conduct ornithological surveys and interviews in San Calixto/Convencion and the foothills on the western slope of the east Andes above Pailitas, the eastern foothills of Serrania de San Lucas, and between Pailitas and La Jagua de Ibirico. It was also proposed to locate surviving forest patches using aerial photographs and assess the species's taxonomic position.

As mentioned above, the Magdalena Tinamou will be removed from the IUCN Red List pending resolution of its taxonomic status. It was classified as Critically Endangered: D in the 2006 Red List, uplisted from Endangered in 1994.


Database entry includes a range map and justification for why this bird is critically endangered

(2007): Crypturellus saltuarius BirdLife Species Factsheet. Retrieved 2007-AUG-26.

(2003): Search for the Magdalena Tinamou: project report. Colombian EBA Project Report Series 4. PDF fulltext

(2006): Proposals for the taxonomic treatment of Red-legged Tinamou Crypturellus erythropus. Retrieved 2007-AUG-26.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Magdalena Tinamou