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Photo Information
Copyright: Christian Smith (rchristiansmith) (24)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-08-25
Categories: Birds
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/1000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2006-12-09 20:48
Viewed: 5130
Points: 6
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
We found this hoatzin in the pampas about three hours outside of Rurrenabaque. Because they tend to stretch their wings for several seconds, I had time to prepare for the shot.

From Wikipedia:

The Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin), also known as the Hoactzin, Stinkbird, or Canje Pheasant, is an odd species of tropical bird found in the swamps of the Amazon and Orinoco rivers in South America.

It is pheasant-sized but much slimmer long-tailed, long-necked and has a small head. It has an unfeathered blue face with red eyes, and its head is topped by spiky crest. It is a weak flier.

The Hoatzin eats the leaves and fruits of the plants which grow in the marshes where it lives. One of this species' many peculiarities is that it has a digestive system unique amongst birds. Hoatzins use bacterial fermentation in the front part of the gut to break down the vegetable material they consume, like cattle and other ruminants. Unlike ruminants which possess a specialized stomach for bacterial fermentation, in the Hoatzin this is the function of the crop, an enlargement of the esophagus. The crop of the Hoatzin is so hypertrophied as to displace the flight muscles and keel of the sternum, much to the detriment of their flight. Because of aromatic compounds in the leaves they consume and the bacterial fermentation, the bird has a disagreeable, manure-like odor and is only hunted for food in times of dire need.

Hoatzins are gregarious and nest in small colonies, laying 2-3 eggs in a stick nest in a tree overhanging water in seasonally flooded forests. The chick, which is fed on regurgitated cud, has another odd feature; it has two claws on each wing. When disturbed, the chicks drop into the water to escape predation, then they use their clawed wings to climb back to the safety of the nest. This has inevitably led to comparisons to the fossil Archaeopteryx.

This is a noisy species, with a variety of hoarse calls, one of which has been described as like a heavy smoker's wheezing.

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Critiques [Translate]

Wow! What a beautiful picture. I like the way you took this photo.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2006-12-10 1:53]

Hello Christian,
Welcome to TN!
This is an excellent start with an unusual bird depicted in an unusual way.
Though the light was against you, you have used it in an advantageous way, showing the Hoatzin's wing-stretch behaviour as well as allowing the viewer to see some of the typical features.
Well done,
TFS, regards, Ivan

Interesting shot I like the light and silouette nice sky. Excellent sharp feathers thanks for sharing rgds Necip. Points tomorrow too many crits today rgds Necip.

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