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Flying Stinkbird - June 2011 Peru Photo Contest

by Steve Hutchinson
(Hinckley , England)

Flying Stinkbird

Flying Stinkbird

A prehistoric hoatzin or stinkbird , taken at Sandoval lake while on a two week tour of Amazon basin and Peru.

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This special photo is in the June Inside-Peru Photo Contest.

It is also entered in the 2011 Photo of the Year - Inside-Peru Photo Contest.

Even if the contest for a certain month is closed, your vote will count towards the Photo of the Year, announced in January of the following year.

Each photo in the contest can receive your votes.

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David from Inside-Peru adds:

The Stinkbird shown here is also called the Hoatzin or Canje Pheasant.

It is not really a pheasant. In fact, scientists have not been able to figure this bird out. So they have classified it in its own genus and its own family. No other birds are known to be related to it.

Why "Stinkbird"? Because it smells stinky. It doesn't eat rotting meat like a buzzard, though. It eats only vegetative matter like fruits and leaves. It has an large crop, though, where the food remains long enough to ferment. This unusual fermentation process and/or the type of vegetation the Stinkbird eats are what give it the stinky designation.

Too bad, ol' bird, you sure look nicer than you smell!

Distinctive and Unusual

One of the distinctive features of this bird is that the chicks have claws on two of their wing digits, giving it the image of being "prehistoric."

The Stinkbird is found in the low, wet lands and mangrove swamps of the Amazon river deltas in Peru and other parts of the Amazon River basin.

Peru's rain forests in the low-lying and vast Oriente or east of Peru, are home to many of these Stinkbirds or Hoatzins.

As you can see, the head has feathers sticking up and trailing. Reflecting that, the Greek name is translated as "wearing hair behind," and resembles some of the hair styles common among young humanoid males today.

The Stinkbird, or Hoatzin, is about the size of a pheasant.

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