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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Creature Feature: Seriemas.

It's hard to find weird birds. Most people consider birds so normal that we at the blog have to go out of our way to find bizarre avians to fit the bill. Well, we think we found one this time, but perhaps the readers should be the judge of that:



The Red-legged Seriema or Crested Cariama (Cariama cristata) is among the few extant cursorial predators. It is native to the grasslands of South America, including Brazil and central Argentina. They eat anything from snakes and rodents to insects. Although it is hard to tell at first glance precisely what makes the seriema so weird, that it has only one other extant member in its family says a lot.


From Eggscomefromthestore.blogspot.com.


Seriemas are the closest living relatives of the ancient, avian predators that came after the dinosaurs. Commonly known as terror birds, these massive, flightless predators were once the top dogs in North and South America. They could grow up to three meters in height and were probably swift runners. If nothing else, that beak meant business.

 

Even if the modern seriemas are closely related to terror birds, they have traits that remind us more of Velociraptors from Jurassic Park. Not only are these birds curious and presumably intelligent, but they have a nasty little sickle claw. This claw is used for fighting with each other as well as tearing apart prey items that are too big to swallow whole. Still think that dinosaurs are extinct?



Seriemas also have a very strange song.  Ever wonder what a small-ish dinosaur might have sounded like? Now you know!

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