Horned screamer

The horned screamer (Anhima cornuta) is a member of a small family of birds, the Anhimidae, which occurs in wetlands of tropical South America. There are three screamer species, the other two being the southern screamer and the northern screamer in the genus Chauna. They are related to the ducks, geese and swans, which are in the family Anatidae, but have bills looking more like those of game birds.

Horned Screamer calls, recorded in Amacayacu National Park, Colombia

Taxonomy

The horned screamer was described in 1766 by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in the twelfth edition of his Systema Naturae. He introduced the binomial name Palamedea cornuta.[2] The horned screamer is now the only species placed in the genus Anhima that was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760.[3][4] The specific epithet cornuta is the Latin word for "horned".[5] The German naturalist Georg Marcgrave had used the Latin name Anhima in 1648 for the horned screamer in his Historia naturalis Brasiliae.[6] The name was from the word for the bird in the Tupi language of South America.[7]

Description

The horned screamer is a massive 84–95 cm (33–37.5 in) long, 3.5 kg (7.7 lb) bird, with a small chicken-like bill. The upperparts, head, and breast are black, with white speckles on the crown, throat and wing coverts. There is a long spiny structure projecting forward from the crown. This structure is unique among birds and is not derived from a feather but is a cornified structure that is loosely attached to the skull and grows continuously while often breaking at its tip.[8] This gives this species its name. It has very long and lanky legs and three large toes in each. The belly and under wing coverts are white. It has two sharp spurs on its wings and feet which are only partially webbed.

The horned screamer's call, as its name suggests, is a very loud echoing sound.[9] It is called"El Clon-Clon" in Ecuador because of this peculiar feature.

Distribution, habitat and behavior

The horned screamer is found in lowlands from Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Suriname, French Guiana, and Guyana.[10][11] It is now extinct in Trinidad and Tobago.[10] Despite having declined locally, it remains widespread and is fairly common overall. Its range in Brazil appears to have expanded in recent years.

It lives in well-vegetated marshes and feeds on water plants. Its nest is a large pile of floating vegetation anchored in shallow water. Three olive-brown eggs are laid, and the young, like those of most Anseriformes, can run as soon as they are hatched.

As a symbol

The horned screamer is the official bird of the Department of Arauca and the Municipality of Arauca in Colombia and it is also a symbol in the National Reserve of Churute in Ecuador. The department and its capital are named after the bird, which is called Arauco in Spanish.

The bird appears in the arms of Tietê, Brazil.[12]

Footnotes

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Anhima cornuta". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Linnaeus, Carl (1766). Systema naturae : per regna tria natura, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Volume 1, Part 1 (12th ed.). Holmiae (Stockholm): Laurentii Salvii. p. 232.
  3. ^ Brisson, Mathurin Jacques (1760). Ornithologie, ou, Méthode Contenant la Division des Oiseaux en Ordres, Sections, Genres, Especes & leurs Variétés (in French and Latin). Paris: Jean-Baptiste Bauche. Vol. 1, p. 48, Vol. 5, p. 518.
  4. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Screamers, ducks, geese, swans". World Bird List Version 9.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  5. ^ Jobling, J.A. (2019). del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. (eds.). "Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  6. ^ Marcgrave, Georg (1648). Historia naturalis Brasiliae (in Latin). Liber Quintus: Qui agit de Avibus. Lugdun and Batavorum (London and Leiden): Franciscum Hackium and Elzevirium. p. 215.
  7. ^ Jobling, J.A. (2019). del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. (eds.). "Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  8. ^ Stettenheim, Peter R. (2000). "The Integumentary Morphology of Modern Birds—An Overview". American Zoologist. 40 (4): 461–477. doi:10.1093/icb/40.4.461.
  9. ^ Lodge Amazon (2015-03-21), Horned Screamers Loud, retrieved 2018-11-19
  10. ^ a b IUCN (2009)
  11. ^ Clements, J. (2007)
  12. ^ camaratiete.com

References

External links

Anseriformes

Anseriformes is an order of birds that comprise about 180 living species in three families: Anhimidae (the 3 screamers), Anseranatidae (the magpie goose), and Anatidae, the largest family, which includes over 170 species of waterfowl, among them the ducks, geese, and swans. Most modern species in the order are highly adapted for an aquatic existence at the water surface. With the exception of screamers, all have phalli, a trait that has been lost in the Neoaves. Due to their aquatic nature, most species are web-footed.

Fauna of Colombia

The fauna of Colombia is characterized by a high biodiversity, with the highest rate of species by area unit worldwide.

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Laguna de Sonso Nature Reserve

The Laguna de Sonso Nature Reserve is located in the Valle del Cauca Department of Colombia. It contains the last extensive remnant of original natural wetland remaining in the Cauca River Valley in western Colombia, and was declared a nature reserve in October 1978. It comprises a series of marshes and lagoons on the east bank of the Cauca River, between the municipalities of Buga, Yotoco and Guacari. It has an area of 2,045 ha (7.90 sq mi), lying at an altitude of 935 m (3,068 ft). The wetlands are affected by the introduced water hyacinth.

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Screamer

The screamers are a small family, Anhimidae, of South American birds. For a long time, they were thought to be most closely related to the Galliformes because of similar bills, but they are instead more closely related to ducks (family Anatidae), most closely to the magpie goose (which some DNA evidence suggests are closer to screamers than to ducks). The clade is exceptional within the living birds in lacking uncinate processes of ribs. The screamers are represented by three species, the horned screamer (Anhima cornuta), the southern screamer or crested screamer (Chauna torquata) and the northern screamer or black-necked screamer (Chauna chavaria). A penis is absent in the males, and the birds' skin has a layer about a quarter of an inch thick, filled with small bubbles of air, which produce a crackling sound when pressed.

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Southern screamer

The southern screamer (Chauna torquata), also known as the crested screamer, belongs to the order Anseriformes. It is found in southeastern Peru, northern Bolivia, Paraguay, southern Brazil, Uruguay and northern Argentina. Its diet consists of plants stems, seeds, leaves, and, rarely, small animals.

Spur (zoology)

A spur is an outgrowth of bone covered in a sheath of horn found in various anatomical locations in some animals. Unlike claws or nails, which grow from the tip of the toes, spurs form from other parts of the foot, usually in connection with joints where the toes meet the foot or the foot meets the long bones. Spurs are most commonly found on the hindfeet, though some birds possess spurs at the leading edge of the wings.

Susan Silas

Susan Silas is a visual artist and writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Silas is a dual American and Hungarian national who has built a diverse career as an artist during the past two decades. Silas has been exhibiting her work in the US and in Europe since 1985, and has taught at New York University and Cooper Union.

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