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Tinamou

birds and species

TINAMOU, a South American game-bird, the Crypturi, called °partridge* by colonists because of its superficial likeness to those birds, but structurally occupying a dis tinct place, the determination of which has greatly puzzled ornithologists. The view now prevails that they are a every distinct group of birds, which though not to be removed from the Carinatte present so much resemblance to the as to indicate them to be the bond of union between those two great divisions. Many genera and species are known in southern South America and two or three forms extend northward into Mexico. They vary in size from that of a quail to a guinea hen. The head is small, neck slender, bill elongated and plumage close and inconspicuous, usually brown ish or bluish, with few ornamental markings. The wings are short and rounded, and the tail so short and soft as in some species to appear absent altogether. Some of them inhabit forests

and others more open country, and show very little skill or courage in avoiding the gun or escaping capture. Their flesh is delicious. They nest upon the ground and lay very remarkable eggs, since the shell °looks as if it were of highly burnished metal or glazed porcelain, pre senting also various colors, which seem to be constant in the particular species, from pale primrose to sage-green, or light indigo, or from chocolate brown to pink-orange." The fact that the male alone incubates the eggs is one of many ratite characteristics of this antique and curious group of birds. Consult Newton, 'Dictionary of Birds' (New York 1896) wherein will be found many references to special au thorities.