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Crypturellus cinnamomeus, Thicket Tinamou
Mr. David Dufeau - The University of Texas at Austin
Crypturellus cinnamomeus
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University of Kansas Museum of Natural History (KU 34658)

Image processing: Mr. David Dufeau
Image processing: Dr. Ted Macrini
Publication Date: 15 Jan 2001


Crypturellus cinnamomeus, the thicket or rufescent tinamou, is a quail to partridge sized bird from the lowlands of Central America. In fact, the vernacular names for Tinamous are often names such as 'perdiz' or 'codorniz/godorniz' meaning 'partridge' or 'quail' respectively in the local Spanish dialects.

It is one of some forty species of tinamiform birds found in South and Central America.

The binomial 'Crypturellus cinnamomeus' is a mixture of Greek roots and Latin endings meaning 'little cinnamon coloured hidden one'.

The Tinamiformes share certain affinities with the group of birds defined as 'paleognaths' (e.g., kiwi, moa, elephant bird), but their relations to or within the paleognathes are unresolved as the very definition of the group 'paleognath' is inconsistent and somewhat contentious in the field of avian systematics.

Unlike their paleognathous cousins, the rheas, emus, and ostriches, tinamous are volant. Although possessed of the capabilities of flight, these birds do not have a great command of that ability. The naturalist W. H. Hudson, exploring the pampas of Argentina late in the last century, likened tinamou flight to the motion of a brakeless engine, powerful but ungovernable.

About the Species

An osteologic preparation of the tinamou Crypturellus cinnamomeus, specimen number KU-34658, comprises the focus of this morphological study. This specimen, a loan from the University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, was originally collected from El Astillero, Guatemala on the second of February 1955. First catalogued as KMNH-550212-11, it was identified as a male by its collecter, James W. Bee.

The specimen is believed to be a mature individual by virtue of the relatively high degree of ankylosis of the parietal-frontal suture. Ankylosis of this suture is known to be incomplete in even relatively mature juvenile specimens.

About this Specimen

This specimen was scanned by Richard Ketcham and Cambria Denison in the fall of 1997. Raw data for the CT x-ray data set consists of 100 micrometer thick slices through the horizontal plane of the skull. These data were resliced into the coronal and sagittal planes with the aid of the National Institute of Health's shareware application NIH Image 1.62.

About the

de Beer, G. R. 1937. The Development of the Vertebrate Skull. Clarendon Press, Oxford.

de Villier, C. G. S. 1946. The relations of the vomer and palatoquadrate bar to the cranial rostrum in the tinamou (Crypturellus species). Annale van die Universiteit van Stellenbosch, A-24:21-39.

Jollie, M. T. 1957. The head skeleton of the chicken and remarks on the anatomy of this region in other birds. Journal of Morphology 100:389-436.

Kesteven, H. L. 1925. The parabasal canals and nerve foramina and canals in the bird skull. Journal of the Royal Society of New South Wales 59:108-123.

Saiff, E. I. 1988. The anatomy of the middle ear of the Tinamiformes (Aves: Tinamiformes). Journal of Morphology 196:107-116.

Witmer, L. M. 1990. The craniofacial air sac system of Mesozoic birds (Aves). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 100:327-378.

Witmer, L. M. 1995. Homology of facial structures in extant archosaurs (birds and crocodilians), with special reference to paranasal pneumaticity and nasal conchae. Journal of Morphology 225:269-327.

Witmer, L. M. 1997. The evolution of the antorbital cavity of archosaurs: A study in soft-tissue reconstruction in the fossil record with an analysis of the function of pneumaticity. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 17 (supplement to 1): Memoir 3.


A web page featuring information on tinamous by birder Don Roberson.

& Links

rufescent tinamou

Image from Sutton, G. M. 1951. The rufescent tinamou. The Wilson Bulletin 63(2):67-68.


To cite this page: Mr. David Dufeau, 2001, "Crypturellus cinnamomeus" (On-line), Digital Morphology. Accessed July 24, 2024 at http://digimorph.org/specimens/Crypturellus_cinnamomeus/.

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