Powder down and a preen gland are present. In contrast to gallinaceous birds, they do not scratch for food with their feet, but do use their feet to dig nest scrapes. A copulatory organ is present. The plumage is inconspicuous, although crown feathers of some species can be raised as a crest. Males and females have similar plumage, or females may be somewhat brighter in color and often larger than males.
Length 8–21 in (20–53 cm), weight 0.09–5 lb (43–2,300 g). Tinamous are ground birds with a compact form, a slender neck, a small head, and a short, slender bill that curves slightly downward. The wings are short and capacity for flight is poor.
The feet are strong; there are three well-