Tinamous (Tinamidae) represent one of the most ancient living avian lineages but their life history traits are relatively unstudied. Here we identified microsatellite loci for two sympatric tinamou species, the Ornate Tinamou (Nothoprocta ornata) and the Darwin's Nothura (Nothura darwinii) from low coverage Illumina sequencing of genomic DNA. The experiment yielded a large number of candidate loci. We designed primers and tested them for successful amplification in 1 to 2 populations of the target species, tested for deviation from the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and the presence of null alleles, the levels of polymorphism and potential cross-amplification. All 30 and 24 loci amplified consistently, in the Ornate Tinamou and in Darwin's Nothura, respectively. In the Ornate Tinamou, 25 loci were polymorphic and in the Darwin's Nothura 12, with 2 to 14 alleles per locus in both species. The expected heterozygosity ranged from 0.054 to 0.917 in the Ornate Tinamou and from 0.044 to 0.908 in the Darwin's Nothura. 23 (40%) of 54 loci were successfully crossamplified. These newly discovered, polymorphic microsatellite loci represent a valuable tool for future studies on social behaviour, parentage and genetic population structure in tinamous.