Hoatzin: The Ultimate Bad Hair Day!

Hoatzin

An image from one of my favorite series of Hoatzin photo opportunities. This was taken in 2007 at Sacha Lodge in the Ecuadorian Amazon Basin. This odd vegetarian species is probably best explained through the description found on Wikipedia…

The Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin), also known as the Hoactzin, Stinkbird, or Canje Pheasant, is an unusual species of tropical bird found in swamps, riverine forest and mangrove of the Amazon and the Orinoco delta in South America. It is the only member of the genus Opisthocomus (Ancient Greek: “wearing long hair behind”, referring to its large crest[clarification needed]), which in turn is the only extant genus in the family Opisthocomidae.

The taxonomic position of this family has been greatly debated, and is still far from clear. It is a roughly pheasant-sized bird some 65 centimetres (26 in) long, with a long neck and small head. It is brown in colour, with paler underparts and has an unfeathered blue face with maroon eyes, and its head is topped by a spiky, rufous crest. The chicks are unusual in that two of their wing digits possess claws.

The Hoatzin is herbivorous, it eats leaves and fruit, and has an unusual digestive system with an enlarged crop used for fermentation of vegetable matter, in a manner broadly analagous to the digestive system of mammalian ruminants. The name Stinkbird is related to a strong smell produced by this bird, perhaps due to the consumption of leaves.

For more info go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoatzin

photo © Kevin Loughlin

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