Action Synopsis: Bird Conservation About Actions

Use captive breeding to increase or maintain populations of tinamous

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

A replicated study from Costa Rica over three years found that great tinamous Tinamus major successfully bred in captivity, with similar reproductive success to wild birds.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A study in a breeding centre in Costa Rica between 2003 and 2005 (Fournier et al. 2007) found that 42 great tinamous, Tinamus major, (28 female, 14 male) successfully bred in four breeding enclosures and laid a comparable number of eggs to wild birds (672 eggs laid by 24 females over three years in the centre vs. 3-6 eggs laid 3-4 times each breeding season in the wild), although the breeding season was a month longer than in the wild. Captive-laid eggs were similar in size to wild eggs. Older females laid more eggs and fertility in two enclosures appeared to increase with the number of years that birds spent together (50-61% infertility in the first year together vs. 16% in the second year). An enclosure with a male: female ratio of 4:1 had higher fertility in its first year than an enclosure with a ratio of 1:5 (13% infertility vs. 59%, number of eggs not provided). There was egg predation in two enclosures, which tinamous shared with chestnut-mandibled toucans, Ramphastos swainsonii, and great curassows, Crax rubra, but not in enclosures shared with only songbirds or no other species. The eggs were removed from cages and artificially incubated, but the effectiveness of this was not reported.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Bird Conservation. Pages 137-281 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

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Bird Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bird Conservation
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What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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