River Chickens

This was Bode’s favorite bird. He says if he is reincarnated, he wants to come back as a Hoatzin.

Let’s review why it’s good to be a Hoatzin.  From the Guia de Fauna Selvestre, Selve & Pampas (emphasis mine)…

It is the only member of it’s own family. In the order of cuckoos.

Head almost bare, with frizzy red crest, large bright blue area around his red eyes.

It has a digestive system unique amongst birds. Hoatzins use bacterial fermentation in the front part of the gut to break down the vegetable material they consume, like cattle and other ruminants.

They heavy payload of leaves and bacteria severely limits any long term flight possibilities.

That’s the reason why the Hoatzin itself exudes a disagreeable smell, perhaps for this reason it has few predators and is extremely abundant.

It is also the only species of bird that has chicks with claws on their wings.

This is a noisy species, with a variety of hoarse calls, one of which has been described as like a heavy smoker’s wheezing.


5 thoughts on “River Chickens

  • June 8, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    Rudy- Bode just listened to every one of those calls! If you hear these in the night before you learn it is a bird, it is an uneasy feeling.
    Want to meet us in Brazil for some jungle recordings?

  • June 8, 2011 at 6:38 PM

    Let’s see. The bird has red hair and blue eyes, is an only child, can only eat certain foods, can be very loud and has been known to smell less than ideal.

    I think Bode already is the bird.

    (just kidding, honey. I’ve never known you to smell bad or be too loud.)

  • June 9, 2011 at 3:06 AM

    I just have to say “Mom” that that last comment was VERY funny…especially loved the just kidding part! I think the bird is beautiful!!!

  • June 9, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    angela – your mom is funny too.

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