Anhimidae


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Related to Anhimidae: horned screamer

Anhimidae

[an′him·ə‚dē]
(vertebrate zoology)
The screamers, a family of birds in the order Anseriformes characterized by stout bills, webbed feet, and spurred wings.

Anhimidae

 

(screamers), a family of birds of the order Anseriformes. The birds are between 70 and 90 cm long and have a wingspread of about 2 m. Unlike other members of their order, screamers have a bill that lacks horny plates at the edges. The head has a crest or a horny protuberance. At the bend of each wing there are two spurs. The webs of the feet are short, appearing only at the base of the toes. The skeleton is pneumatic, and the skin contains a system of tiny air sacs. The feathers cover the body evenly; there are no apteria. The plumage is predominantly black, gray, and white.

Screamers are found in South America, from Colombia and Venezuela to northern Argentina and Uruguay. There are two genera: Anhima and Chauna. The genus Anhima has a single species, the horned screamer (A. cornuta). The genus Chauna includes two species: the black-necked screamer (C. chavaria) and the crested screamer (C. torquata). The birds live in marshes and are able to walk on floating vegetation. They have difficulty commencing flight but are able to soar for hours like vultures. Screamers build their nests in marshy areas. The clutch of the horned screamer usually contains two eggs; the other two species lay between four and six white eggs. Both the males and the females hatch the eggs and care for the young. Screamers are vegetarians. They are game birds.

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