- The truly remarkable bird known simply as the Hoatzin represents a unique species of tropical bird. The uniquely impressive creature appears to also be endemic to a very specific type of habitat throughout its entire natural range.
- The extremely unusual bird further remains widely regarded for a highly specific,though for researchers, complicated, reason. This occurs because the unique avian remains the most enigmatic of all known extant species of bird.
- It also remains extremely distinct from any other recognized avian known to modern science. Due to this fact, scientists now classify the remarkable animal in its own separate family and suborder, further adding to its impressive statistics.
- The amazing Hoatzin also has the well-deserved, if most unflattering, reputation of exuding a strong manure-like odor. For the moment, there remains no clear picture for scientists of the evolutionary path of this animal to the present.
Hoatzin Physical Description
In a somewhat surprising coincidental development, in terms of general shape, the Hoatzin appears similar to the pheasant. The total body length of individuals, in keeping with this, averages roughly 26 in (65 cm), with no discernible sexual dimorphism.
The neck of this scientifically magnificent bird grows elongated, and the head stays relatively small. The face iself, though, appears devoid of feathers. The species also remains noted for its bright maroon colored eyes. Atop the head sits a large spiky crest.
The tail also grows long and broad, while the wings and back typically show a dark shade of brown. The underside most frequently displays combinations of off-white and chestnut in color, making for a remarkably striking appearance for the animal.
One unexplained evolutionary trait of the Hoatzin, however, continues to rank as extremely unique in the minds of researchers. Though they disappear shortly after birth, the hatchlings are actually born possessing claws on the wing digits.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Opisthocomiformes
- Family: Opisthocomidae
- Genus: Opisthocomus
- Species: O. hoatzin
Hoatzin Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The amazing Hoatzin inhabits a very specific portion of the world. In point o fact, in the Amazon Basin, the unique bird occurs in various riparian forests, mangrove forests, and swamps. Elsewhere in South America, it also lives in the Orinoco Delta.
Having evolved as mainly herbivorous, the truly remarkable creature feeds primarily on the leaves of plants native to its specific habitat. Yet, the fascinating animal also feeds on the typically plentiful fruit and flowers of the same species occasionally.
Despite the relatively large wings it possesses, the Hoatzin remains a poor flier, somewhat to the surprise of scientists. It also remains quite clumsy on the ground, generally moving quite awkwardly. The bird also possesses a generally mild temperament.
The existence of the claws on the wings of the hatchlings has led many to believe it is descended from the Archaeopteryx. This ancient creature disappeared around 150 million years ago. There presently remains absolutely no evidence of that, however.