"The Flying Cow"
Found in rainforests and swamps of the Amazon and Orinoco Delta in South America, the Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) are folivores meaning that, unlike many other birds, they feed predominantly on vegetation. Generally, they are found in groups (colonies), typically consisting of between 10-50 birds, with both parents, as well as older siblings, cooperating to raise between 2-5 young.
Both sexes look alike, with red eyes, a blue face and bright orange Mohican crest, as well as growing to a length of 65cm and weight of no more than 1kg. Characteristically, this species are noisy, producing a variety of hoarse calls, croaks and grunts, as well as possessing an adventurous nature, with a clumsy disposition.
Genetically, these creatures are rather unique, with an overdeveloped crop or digestive system, allowing them to ferment the foliage they consume much like a cow does, and resulting in the production of a manure-like smell; the reason behind the nickname “the flying cow”. Along with this, Hoatzin chicks are born with hook-like claws on the end of their wings, which disappear when they reach adulthood, enabling them to dextrously climb trees, whilst preventing them from falling into the swampy waters typically found within their native habitat.
Coloured Pencil drawing
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