Skip to main content

Hoatzin

Opisthocomus hoazin
Meet the Hoatzin, a bird that can be found near bodies of water throughout northern South America. Hoatzins are... well... kind of weird. Mostly because of what they look like as chicks. Oh, and the fact that they are so genetically distinct from other birds that they have their own entire taxonomic Order.

Hoatzins are about the size of a chicken and sport a very small head with a crest, very long wings, and a long tail. Added to the list of their weird traits is their digestive tract. They actually have enlarged crops in their throat that allow them to break down food via bacterial fermentation. But... it makes them stink like garbage. The stink is actually beenficial to the birds, as it tends to keep some predators away.

But lets get back to what they look like as chicks, shall we? When they are born, newly hatched Hoatzins actually have tiny claws on their wings. These claws help them to avoid predators before they are able to fly. Young Hoatzins will jump out of their nests into the water (adults can't swim) and then use those claws to climb back into their nest when the danger has passed.

For a long time scientists have been trying to figure out what Hoatzins are, and they have previously placed them within a whole mess of different bird orders. Genetic testing only made things more confusing when it showed that none of the relationships were especially close, resulting in the Hoatzins getting their own unique Order.

Hoatzins are not currently a threatened species because they have a large range and are relatively common. They are generally left alone by humans, due to the fact that they smell really bad. (Their meat apparently tastes pretty bad too!)

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : South America
Size : Body length up to 26in (66cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Opisthocomiformes
Family : Opisthocomidae -- Genus : Opisthocomus -- Species : O. hoazin

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Bornean Orangutan

The Bornean Orangutan is one of two extant Orangutan species in the world. It is the third largest primate (after Gorillas) and is the largest primarily tree-dwelling animal in the world. Males are substantially larger than females, and average at around 165lbs. Bornean Orangutans are largely solitary. A handful might live within a small range but they will seldom interact with one another. Males and females only meet up to breed, which happens only once every several years. A young Orangutan will stay with it's mother for about five years, and the females tend to go about eight years between births. That is the longest interim period of any animal! Sadly, the Bornean Orangutans are in a lot of trouble. They need large forests in order to thrive, and deforestation and habitat degradation has left many homeless. They are also hunted for meat and for traditional medicines. Conservation areas are being established to help these guys in the wild, and it is believed that there are a

Four!

For anyone who was counting, yesterday was our birthday-- four years! Four years filled with animals from A to Z, more than 1,100 of them! I can't thank my readers enough, it's been wonderful! And in celebration of that milestone... I'm taking a break. Hopefully not forever, but for a little bit at least. In the mean time I plan on getting a new layout out, along with some updates to some of the older articles. I'll post updates here and on the Facebook page, I'm also brainstorming some new animal-related projects, so keep an eye out! Thanks again for four awesome years!

10 Years?!

My goodness! It's been 6 years since I went on hiatus, and now more than 10 years since AaD was born, and what a world we've moved in to! Animal a Day is coming back- but in the meantime, check us out on Facebook, for your daily dose of #BIRDNEWS