Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Creature Feature #312: Hoatzin

The Hoatzin is one of the most unusual birds in the world. She is a medium-sized bird, making her home near water in the forests of Brazil. Her diet is herbivorous, consisting largely of leaves and fruit. To aid digestion, she has an enlarged crop in which the pulp can ferment, in a manner similar to mammalian ruminants. This may also give rise to her distinctive, manure-like smell which has earned her the nickname of "stinkbird". She is gregarious and a colony nester, laying 2-3 eggs in a rudimentary stick nest, usually above water. Chicks are equipped with two claw-hooks on each wing, which they use to clamber through the branches. If danger threatens they will drop into the river, swim a short distance and climb up into the trees again.

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