Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Great Tinamou

Frank Buck visited Chan Chich Lodge last December with his family. He recently emailed the following:

"I thought that you might want to comment on the abundance and absence of shyness of the game birds at Chan Chich. Compared to my experience in other parts of Belize and Costa Rica, I was stunned to see so many Tinamou, Crested Guans, Curassows, and Turkeys so indifferent to my presence. I don't remember if I sent you this Tinamou photo. In my previous experience, they disappeared like ghosts. This one posed for me."

It certainly did ... and in my experience, the Great Tinamou (Tinamus major) is a very infrequently photographed bird. I love the red eye glowing like a little jewel on this otherwise plain bird. Also noteworthy for this species are the distinctive piping notes of its call, often given at dusk or dawn. The tinamou, a ground nester, has gorgeous "Easter eggs," normally a glossy porcelain blue.

And Frank is absolutely right about the lack of shyness here. I've commented several times on this blog about how the animals here are not afraid and very confident. Makes for great birding and wildlife viewing. That confidence comes because the Gallon Jug Estate (which includes Chan Chich Lodge) has been strictly protected for nearly 30 years with "no hunting allowed" strictly enforced. The Estate is buffered on all sides by large blocks of property. There are security gates one must pass through at the two road entrances. Would that the National Parks were so rigorously protected!


  1. A great shot. We have been lucky enough to see a few Great Tinamou at Chan Chich. Their haunting call is magnificent.