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a strange bird

a strange bird
Photo Information
Copyright: michael shalter (retlash) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 61 W: 1 N: 332] (1730)
Genre: Places
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-10-05
Categories: Nature
Camera: Olympus SP 550 UZ
Exposure: f/4.4, 1/100 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-06-25 15:38
Viewed: 1961
Points: 0
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
About an hour by boat from Puerto Maldonado down Rio Tambopata lies a lake inhabited by giant otters, pirana, and these funny birds by the name of hoazin ("stink birds"). The latin name is Opisthocomus hoazin. Undoubtedly the most bizarre bird on the planet. First of all, no one knows exactly how to classify it, so it has its own family and suborder. Second, it's the only bird that eats only veggies (leaves) and fruit. Third, when young it has a claw at the end of each wing to help climb back into a tree if it falls (the claws disappear in adulthood). Because it needs a huge crop to ferment the veggies, the hoazin has lost its sternal flight muscles making it a lousey flier. These pheasant-sized birds are raucous and highly sociable, living in small groups along the mangrove swamps and amazon tributaries. Seeing them up close, one is reminded of archeopterix...a living fossil.

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