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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Amaze-wing Facts About The Hoatzin For Kids

Read these hoatzin facts and know more about this avian creature that lives in the Amazon.

Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) is a reptilian bird. It is known with many names like skunk bird, Canje bird, or sink bird. They are purely herbivorous and are Guyana’s national bird. When the chicks sense any approaching predator, they jump into the water below and use their hoatzin wings to swim to a safe area. After the predator has left, they make use of their hoatzin claw for getting out of the river and climb back on a tree again. With age, hoatzin claws are lost and transform into feathers to fit with the modern avian. But they are really bad at flying and can only cover small distances with their wings.

Along the shores of the river, you’re likely to spot a Hoatzin roaming around and eating their favorite leafy food. You can also see them near swamps or gallery forests. After reading these hoatzin bird facts, you may also look at great green macaw facts and pine warbler facts.

Hoatzin Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a hoatzin?

Hoatzins are herbivorous birds that reside along the river areas of northern South America. They are pretty clumsy birds that stink and own many unique traits. They possess dinosaur clawed fingers, which they don’t use for killing or fighting.

What class of animal does a hoatzin belong to?

They belong to the class Aves of order Opisthocomiformes. The species from this class are warm-blooded vertebrates with toothless jaws, beaks, and feathers. They lay eggs, have the ability to fly (mostly) and range in different sizes. Hoatzins are believed to be closely related to turacos.

How many hoatzins are there in the world?

The population size of hoatzin species is not determined but is spread sparsely in suitable habitats like swamps, wetlands, river forests and mangroves.

Where does a hoatzin live?

Hoatzin birds are found primarily in the swamps of South America, with Orinoco river basins and Amazon.

What is a hoatzin's habitat?

Hoatzins are tropical birds species whose habitat involves swamps, riverbanks, lakes, freshwater marshes, streams and gallery forests.

Who do hoatzins live with?

They are interested in young animals, which are in nests above water and on trees. In case young hoatzins fall from their nest, they swim until they attain safety from the ground on trees, escaping from predators. Also, they surround their species in colonies of 10-50 birds.

How long does a hoatzin live?

The average of a hoatzin bird is 15 years in wild conditions and around 29-30 years when kept in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

Hoatzins don’t breed until their first life year. Their breeding period occurs during the rainy season of their territory. They build nests on branches with leaves that are around 6-15 ft above water. They usually lay 2-3 eggs and their incubation period ranges 30-32 days. The young ones stay in their nest for around 2-3 weeks after hatching.

What is their conservation status?

They appear to be very common in its range where its major habitat is available. It falls under the category of Least Concerned in IUCN species list. They are less threatened, but ecotourism in a few areas has badly affected their population.

Hoatzin Fun Facts

What do hoatzins look like?

They are ruminators and pheasant-sized, with a long neck and  a small head. With an feather-less blue face, it has maroon eyes. With that, their head is crowned with a rufous, spiky crest. The sooty-brown, long tail is a wide tipped buff. The upper part of the hoatzin bird's body owns a sooty-brown-edged buff on covet of wings, while the nape and mantle have a streaked buff with a blue face. The under-tail, under-wing, flanks, coverts and primaries are rufous-chestnut in the shade and can be seen when it opens its wings.

A hoatzin has an enlarged crop.

How cute are they?

Hoatzins are pretty birds. Their beautiful mesh of colors makes them delicate yet cute but still wild and fearless.

How do they communicate?

Hoatzin bird communicates via many extraordinary sounds that resemble grunting, hisses, wheezing, and growls. It also communicates via discordant croaking. A hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) also makes a very noisy sound by uttering many hoarse calls. They might also vocalize in unison by spreading their tail and wings.

How big is a hoatzin?

A fully mature hoatzin is approximately 24-26 inches in length. They are average-sized birds, roughly 10-15 times bigger than a hummingbird. The young birds of this species make use of hoatzin wing claws which they help to climb trees and stay away from predators. These wing claws disappear as the birds mature.

Can a hoatzin fly?

Yes, a hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) can fly. Hoatzin flying is limited to small distances only and that too when it fully matures. Thus, they are pretty bad fliers. Hoatzin birds soar from one tree to another with clumsy beats of their wings. Despite being from the Aves family, they have a very bad flying capacity that doesn’t allow them to cross terrestrial zones.

How much does a hoatzin weigh?

The mass of a fully mature and adult hoatzin varies between 1.78-2.2 lb.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for females and males of the hoatzin species. They are called male hoatzins and female hoatzins only.

What would you call a baby hoatzin?

The young birds of a hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) are also known as a hoatzin chick. These chicks are born with two claws on each wing. These chicks are tiny and cute and stay in their nests until they become an average size. The parents feed the chicks a paste from regurgitated leaf from the crop.

What do they eat?

Hoatzin diet includes leaves, a few flowers and the fruit of plants. The plants they eat grow in wetlands. They also roam around clumsily among branches. A hoatzin digestive tract is special as it has an enlarged crop where they store food which ferments for easy digestion.

Are they dangerous?

Adult male and female hoatzin birds hoot, yelp and hiss at predators like capuchin monkeys and tayras.  This can also be referred to as a hoatzin call and a hoatzin sound. Hoatzins build their nests on water, and if they sense any sort of danger, the young ones return to shore, plunge to safety and make use of their claws to reach their nest.

Would they make a good pet?

Hoatzins are pretty wild animals and thus can’t be kept as a pet. Hoatzins usually live in the habitat where they are exposed to their dietary intake, which includes flowers, leaves and such.

Did you know...

A hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) bird is the only species in its genus Opisthocomus. Hoatzins enjoy sunbathing and often rest in trees with erected back feathers and they spread their wings to warm them in the sun.

As studies conducted by evolutionists, the hoatzin evolved in Africa like the turacos but this analysis is not based on a complete hoatzin skeleton but on a dozen of bones available for testing.

Why does the hoatzin stink?

Hoatzin birds are leaf eaters and folivores. They reek of sweet-smelling hay or fresh cow manure due to their unusual diet. They possess a special digestive system to digest big quantities of foliage. Thus, they stink and are known as the stinkbird.

Why do hoatzin have crests?

A hoatzin head has a Mohawk-like, orange crest because that is a trait of their genus and a reason for their name, Hoatzin. Its digestive system is quite unique compared to other birds and is similar to a cow. This enables the Hoatzin to eat leaves and flowers.

How to pronounce hoatzin?

Hoatzin pronunciation: hO-AT-Zin. First, make a small vocal pronunciation of hO. Then, say AT and finally three words together that will sound Zin. This is how you can pronounce hoatzin.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including hermit thrush, or blue grosbeak.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on ourhoatzin coloring pages.

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