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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 03, 2021

Screaming Piha: 21 Facts You Won’t Believe

The screaming piha call is so loud and powerful that is very often used in movies. Continue reading to discover more interesting screaming piha facts.

There are some bird species in the world whose sounds make you get goosebumps. One such bird is the screaming piha. Belonging to the family of Cotingidae and Lipaugus genus, the screaming piha's call is significant to the Amazonian lowlands. The plumage of both the sexes is a pale, dull gray with their wings and tails taking on a more dusky brown color. Known to have an extremely loud voice, the screaming piha is not so easy to locate even if it is heard clearly. This species of birds are common across the countries of South America and Mata Atlantica like Argentina, Peru, tropical parts of Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Guyana, Ecuador, and Colombia. Considered to be solitary, this somewhat large and drab gray bird stays motionless for long periods of time trying to blend into its surroundings. The habitat of these birds is found in tall humid forests, tropical or sub-tropical lowlands, and even in certain human settlements like gardens and parks. Their staple diet typically involves fruits but they also eat a variety of insects like earthworms, spiders, caterpillars, stick insects, locusts, and mantises. Their distribution and range across the world exist in stable numbers and these birds do not face any threats, given their Least Concern conservation status. In Ecuador, the Cofan locals refer to this species of bird as the 'pwe-pwe yoh' because of its distinct voice. To seek a mate, the males often gather together and sing to attract females. This species is similar to the grayish mourner but these are larger in size and have a larger bill.

If you would like to discover more interesting facts on similar birds, check out our Anna's hummingbird fun facts or willet bird facts for kids.

Screaming Piha Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a screaming piha?

The screaming piha (Lipaugus vociferans) is a species of bird that is well known in the tropical parts of South America and Mata Atlantica for its loud song and belongs to the cotinga family.

What class of animal does a screaming piha belong to?

These birds belong to the class of Aves and come from the Lipaugus genus.

How many screaming pihas are there in the world?

The number of screaming piha (Lipaugus vociferans) around the world is not quantified as yet but given their Least Concern conservation status by the IUCN, the population and range of this species with a dull gray plumage exist in stable numbers.

Where does a screaming piha live?

The screaming piha live in moist woodlands, humid forests of the Amazonian region, and tropical to subtropical lowlands. These species are found in parts of South America like the Amazonian region of Brazil, Andean foothills, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Mata Atlantica countries.

What is a screaming piha's habitat?

The natural habitat of the screaming piranha is said to be tropical to subtropical lowlands. It makes its nest in the lower and middle levels of humid forests. At times these birds also choose a tall forest to build their homes in. Although these unique birds make loud, sharp sounds and are easy to be heard, it is quite the opposite when it comes to locating them in their habitat.

Who does a screaming piha live with?

The screaming piha bird is mostly solitary and will only join a mixed-species group for foraging. This cotinga bird is often seen perched upright on the branch of a tree staying motionless from time to time, trying to blend into the environment and they do a good job at it too, given their dull gray plumage and light brown tail. The males often gather together in groups and sing to attract females usually during the mating and breeding season.

How long does a screaming piha live?

The screaming piha or the 'pwe-pwe yoh', according to the Cofan people of Ecuador, lives for an average of 8-10 years.

How do they reproduce?

Very little is known about the way these birds reproduce. However, these species get creative when it comes to seeking their mate. The males often gather together in groups and sing to attract the females while bobbing their gray heads at the same time too! This behavior is called lekking where the male birds engage in courting displays to woo and entice the females. After mating, both the sexes together build a nest with thin twigs and leaves on a small branch of a tree and look untidy. The female lays only one egg. Both the sexes take turns incubating the egg. The egg is a cream color with irregular brown and gray markings. The young ones are gray-tinged with a light rust color and their diet mainly involves insects.

What is their conservation status?

The screaming piha have been given a Least Concern conservation status by the IUCN and their populations do not face any threats. The range of these birds with a loud voice is quite stable across the world, especially in the Amazon of Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and other tropical parts of South America and Mata Atlantica.  

Screaming Piha Fun Facts 

What does the screaming piha look like?

The screaming piha, which belongs to the cotinga family, is all gray. There are no differences in both the sexes and they look the same. With its completely gray plumage, the throat and breast have a blotched effect. They have a long tail with a dark chestnut color towards the end of the feathers on their wings. These species of birds, recently, have also been found to adapt well to human settlements and their distinct voice and sounds can be heard in gardens and parks. The young ones of this species take on a lighter gray tinge with shades of brown or copper color.

At times, the screaming piha will sit so still and then suddenly dive towards a tree for fruit or insect.

How cute are they?

The screaming piha cannot be called cute given its drab gray plumage. They look plain with no vibrancy to them and the only significant characteristic to them, which is their extremely loud voice, can be irritable if constantly heard.

How do they communicate?

These birds communicate using their voice and body language too. This can be seen in the breeding season when the male species of these birds begin to sing and attract its mate, while simultaneously making small jerks with its heads. In fact, the voice of this species is so loud that it comes second to the world's loudest bird which is the white-bellbird!

How big is a screaming piha?

The screaming piha of the Cotingidae family is about 10 in (25.4 cm) in length. They are two times bigger than thrushes as they perch on branches in a straight, upright position!

How fast can a screaming piha fly?

The exact distance that the screaming piha flies is not known but they look like trogans when they hover around trees looking for fruit and insects.

How much does a screaming piha weigh?

The screaming piha weighs about 2.4-2.9 oz (68-82.2 g) and their weight is similar to that of the dusky piha.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific male and female names of this species. They are simply called the screaming piha or Lipaugus vociferans, which is their scientific name.

What would you call a baby screaming piha?

A baby or juvenile screaming piha is called a chick. They appear a little different from the parents with lighter-colored bodies. They are known to make soft clucking sounds once they hatch.

What do they eat?

The staple diet of the screaming piha involves a large variety of fruit. A wide range of insects like locusts, worms like earthworms, mantises, lizards, stick insects, spiders, and grasshoppers are also included in their diet.

Are they dangerous?

The screaming piha species, that commonly occurs in the tropical parts of Brazil and Venezuela, are not really dangerous. Just like any other, they might feign an attack if you try to disturb their nest or habitat.

Would they make a good pet?

The screaming piha species is a wild bird and hence, it will not make a good pet. Therefore, it is best to leave these birds in their natural habitat where they thrive best.

Did you know...

The screaming piha sound is so loud that film directors and producers take their songs to denote the sounds in the amazon forest and to depict a tropical vibe. This passerine species that comes from the Cotingidae family is in fact among the most common sound to be heard throughout the Amazon.

Why is it called screaming piha?

The deafening song of this species has given it the name screaming piha. It almost resembles a wolf whistle.

Which country is screaming piha native to?

There is no specific country that the screaming piha is native to but rather they are commonly found in its range across South America and Mata Atlantica.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these great frigatebird facts and ani bird facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable screaming piha coloring pages.

Second image by Feroze Omardeen.

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