tinamou (tĭnˈəmō) [key], common name for a South American game bird related to the ostrich. It is protectively colored in browns and grays. The females are the aggressors in courtship, and the males incubate the colorful eggs and rear the young. Their flesh is delicious; attempts have been made to introduce them in North America. Although similar in appearance to partridges, tinamous are not related to them. Tinamous are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Tinamiformes, family Tinamidae.