Saturday, November 16, 2013

Creature Feature: Horned Screamer.

Well, it turns out I won't be getting a job this season because I won't be able to work Black Friday. There's always Christmas, but for now, I am formulating my revenge in the form of math and punnett squares. I'm not good at math, but reptiles will be involved. I do not mean snakes in mailboxes. For now, have an awesome bird:


This odd, not-pheasant is called a "Horned Screamer" (Anhima cornuta). It is the only member of the genus Anhima. It can be found in most of the top half of South America, specifically in lowlands and marshes. Despite their pheasant-like appearance, screamers are more closely related to ducks and geese than to chickens.

Right off the bat, the horned screamer is a weird bird. It looks kinda like a pheasant, but has slightly webbed feet. It's also huge- a little over a meter long. If a goose and a pheasant somehow managed to mate, you would get a screamer. Somehow. I'll get into the interesting-ness of avian genitalia at some point.

The Horned Screamer is odd by screamer standards, too. It is the one of the very few birds that has a horn - an actual piece of keratin loosely attached to the skull. The wings have very similar projections, making it look like an already-weird bird with batlike claws. These are fragile bits, and the tips are often broken off. Nobody really knows why it has this horn and apparently those claws, but it sure looks unique.

So why is this thing called a screamer? Let's go to YouTube and find out!

Well, it makes just as much sense as whatever the hell the fox says, right? I'm not sure I would call it "screaming," but what would you call that?

Oh, and by the way, this odd bird is not under any threats aside from perhaps habitat loss. Even though they are fairly easy to hunt, screamers don't make good eating. Their flesh is airy and overall unpalatable - in short, anyone who isn't starving doesn't actually eat that. Sort of a relief.

1 comment:

  1. The legs and feet are rather impressive, also. They outdo both geese and pheasants I would think. I certainly wouldn't want one angry at me.