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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Opisthocomiformes
Family: Opisthocomidae
Swainson, 1837
Genus: Opisthocomus
Illiger, 1811
Species: O. hoazin
Binomial name
Ophisthocomus hoazin
(Muller, 1776)
Range of the Hoatzin

The Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) is a bird, considered a relic from the age of the dinosaurs. They represent the only living member of the family Opisthocomidae, and its close relatives probably died out long ago. When young, hoatzins have claws on their wings. This feature is a remnant from what is considered the first species of bird, Archaeopteryx, which lived about 150 million years ago. Some of them live in the Amazon Rainforest.

Life and description[change | change source]

Hoatzin chicks are born with hooks on their wings. They use the hooks to climb around in the trees before they are large enough to fly. [1]Hoatzins can fly only short distances even when they are fully grown, so they usually climb. [1]They build their nests over water. If danger threatens, the birds dive into the water. They climb back up the tree after the danger has past. [1] Hoatzins communicate through unusual sounds that resemble wheezing, grunting, growls, and hisses. The hoatzin is the only bird that digests plants like a cow.[2] Their odor has been compared to fresh cow feces. It is believed that their odor is caused by their digestive system[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Geography, History and. LIFEPAC. 804 N. 2nd Ave. E., Rock Rapids, IA: Alpha Omega Publications. pp. 22.
  2. "hoatzin (bird)". Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/268421/hoatzin. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
  3. "Foregut fermentation in the hoatzin, a neotropical leaf-eating bird". American Association for the Advancement of Science. 1989. https://fp.auburn.edu/sfws/ditchkoff/Nutrition%20Class%20Papers/Grajal%20et%20al.%201989.pdf. Retrieved 2010-09-01.