Fun Screamer Facts For Kids

Aashita Dhingra
Oct 20, 2022 By Aashita Dhingra
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Oluwapelumi Iwayemi
Come join us as we present to you amazing screamer facts!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.5 Min

The screamer birds belong to the Anhimidae family. They are known for their loud cries. Sometimes, they are calm and chirpy, but often, they can be s loud and disturbing that you can hear them even when you are about 2 miles (3.22 km) away! A pretty apt name for this bird, right?

These birds are predominantly native to South America. The Anhimidae family to which this bird belongs has three different genera under it, the Anhima, the Chauna, and the Chaunoides. In recent times, only the Anhima and Chauna have surviving members. The Chaunoides antiquus, which belonged to the Chaunoides, is unfortunately extinct in today’s world.

Thrilled with this amazing information on the screamer? You might also be excited to read our other pages on birds, such as the spruce grouse and the Virginia rail.

Screamer Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Screamer?

A screamer is a type of bird.

What class of animal does a Screamer belong to?

This species belongs to the class of Aves.

How many Screamers are there in the world?

Unfortunately, there is no exact count on the total population of these birds.

Where does a Screamer live?

The screamer usually prefers living in open regions.

What is a Screamer's habitat?

You need not go looking around for these birds. They are mainly concentrated in the lands extending from Columbia all the way to Argentina in the South American continent. They do not like highly vegetated regions, instead, they like living in habitats that are either open or in marshes with moderately-covered vegetation and grass.

Who do Screamers live with?

This bird of the Anhimidae clan prefers living together in large flocks.

How long does a Screamer live?

There is no exact estimate of the exact lifespan of this species.

How do they reproduce?

These birds are strong followers of monogamous relationships. These relationships are said to last for nearly 15 long years.

The clutch size of this species is about two to seven eggs, with an average of four or five eggs being nested. The hatched chicks are ready as soon as they are born, and have the ability to run immediately. Nests of these birds are built near the water sources so that they can learn how to swim.

The swimming skill helps them escape from predators. Nests are usually made using plant litter, straw, reeds, or other floating vegetation.

The mating of the southern screamer bird includes many rituals, one of which is calling out loudly by both the male and female birds. Both the parent birds share the incubation duties.

In the morning hours, the female screamers sit on the eggs, and as the night falls, the male screamers take over the duty. Incubation takes almost two months. Even though the chicks can run as soon as they hatch from the eggs, their parents look after them for many weeks.

The total period of fledgling takes anywhere between two and three and a half months. The screamers usually mature at two years of age.

What is their conservation status?

The IUCN has listed the conservation statuses of the horned screamer bird and the southern screamer as of Least Concern.  However, the conservation status of the northern screamer is stated as Near Threatened by the IUCN.

Screamer Fun Facts

What do Screamers look like?

The Anhima cornuta has a 'horn' on its head.

These birds are large in size and pretty bulky too. Their heads are pointed down and their legs are long, with large, partially webbed, feet. The wings of screamer birds have two large spurs, which are outgrown bones covered in horn sheaths.

These spurs can regenerate regularly and can be cut off in other screamer’s breasts. The male birds do not have a penis. They have a small beak which is similar to that of chickens.

Coming to the horned screamer birds, they have black breasts, heads, and the upper portion of their bodies. Their throats, wing coverts, and crown have small white freckles. They possess a long spiny structure, unique among all the other birds. This structure projects outward from the crown, giving a horn-like appearance.

This ‘horn’ might break off at the tip but will continue growing again. Their bellies and underwing areas are also in shades of white. Each foot has three large toes.

How cute are they?

We don't really think they're a cute species!

How do they communicate?

There is little known about the way these birds communicate. However, the name of this bird says it all.

These screamers often make noisy, and high-pitched cries that are so loud that they echo for as far as 2 miles (3.22 km) away! The particular scream of the horned screamer is referred to as the ‘el clon-clon’ in Ecuador. This trumpet-sounding call is a way of alerting others of its presence.

These tireless birds can ‘scream’ for hours on repeat. Often, the call of one screamer is followed by a chorus of many others. The screamers also take pride in singing together with the other birds of their kind.

They also make a deep honking noise, which sounds like a 'moo-coh-cah' call, often made in pairs. This call made is similar to that of geese.

How big is a Screamer?

All the Anhimidae screamers are pretty large when compared to other Aves. The length of the horned screamer is about 33-38 in (84-97 cm).

The crested screamer has an average body length of about 32-37 in (81-94 cm). Their wingspans are wide, extending to about 67 in (170 cm). Their tails are about 9 in (23 cm) long, and their beak’s culmen is almost 1.8 in (4.5 cm).

The wing chords are about 21 in (54 cm) bit, and the tarsus of their feet measures about 4.3 in (11 cm). They are almost as big as turkeys.

How fast can a Screamer move?

We are not aware of the speed of a screamer.

How much does a Screamer weigh?

The horned screamer weighs about 7.7 lb (3.5 kg). The crested screamer is the heaviest when compared to all the three screamer species, they weigh around 6.6-11 lb (3-5 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no distinct names for the female and male screamers of all three species.

What would you call a baby Screamer?

There is no specific name for the young ones of this species. In general, baby birds are called chicks, or hatchlings.

What do they eat?

Screamers are primarily herbivores. They graze on seeds, plants, leaves, stems, aquatic vegetation, and even roots. Sometimes, they even raid agricultural fields and eat harvests. Very rarely do they resort to eating small animals.

Are they poisonous?

No, these birds are not poisonous at all.

Would they make a good pet?

We do not think you would like to keep birds of this species as pets, as you would be bothered by their long, loud screams.

Did you know...

Screamers were earlier thought to be related to turkeys and chickens as they have similar beaks. However, they are actually much more related to ducks, and their closest relatives are the magpie geese.

The skins of these birds have a quarter-inch thick layer, which is puffed up with small air sacs. If you press down on the skin of these birds, you will hear the air sacs making a crackling noise. The presence of these air sacs helps in reducing the total weight of its body.

The screamer birds have three different genera under them, namely, Genus Anhima: This genus includes the horned screamer (Anhima cornuta). Genus Chauna: This genus has 2 species under it.

These are Chauna torquata, also known as the Crested screamer or the Southern screamer, and the Chauna chavaria, also popularly called the black-necked screamer or the northern screamer. Genus Chaunoides was also a part of the family, which had the Chaunoides antiquus species under it. Unfortunately, this species is now extinct.

The southern screamer is big trouble for farmers, as it fights with other birds and even spoils the harvests.

The main reasons for their decline include habitat loss and intense measures taken in agricultural fields.

Anhima cornuta gets its name from the Latin term ‘cornuta’, meaning ‘horned’.

The horned screamer can be seen in many public symbols. The Department of Arauca as well as the Araucan Municipality in Colombia have chosen the screamer as its official bird. This horned bird is also the symbol of the National Reserve of Churute of Ecuador.

Various causes for the population decline of the black-necked screamer include wastewater pollution, water management issues, agricultural measures against the bird, and habitat loss due to deforestation.

Because of the 'moh-coo-cah' calls made by the horned screamer, the indigenous people call this bird the 'mahooka'.

Compared to the other three species, the horned screamers are the most territorial. Any intruder who comes to their territory or challenges them is met with strong blows from the spurs of their bones.

The 'horn' on the head of the Anhima cornuta has no functionality of its own.

How high can they fly?

We are not aware of this information, unfortunately. However, we do know that these birds are among the excellent fliers of the Aves group, but are non-migratory as well.

Are they predators?

Screamers usually are purely herbivorous. They eat almost only plants, plant matter, and other vegetation at all times. However, the Chauna torquata is known to have fed on small mammals such as tiny mice.

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 toco toucan facts and chipping sparrow facts.

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

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Written by Aashita Dhingra

Bachelors in Business Administration

Aashita Dhingra picture

Aashita DhingraBachelors in Business Administration

Based in Lucknow, India, Aashita is a skilled content creator with experience crafting study guides for high school-aged kids. Her education includes a degree in Business Administration from St. Mary's Convent Inter College, which she leverages to bring a unique perspective to her work. Aashita's passion for writing and education is evident in her ability to craft engaging content.

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Fact-checked by Oluwapelumi Iwayemi

Bachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering

Oluwapelumi Iwayemi picture

Oluwapelumi IwayemiBachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering

Iwayemi is a creative content writer and editor studying for a Bachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering from the University of Lagos. He is skilled in research and has experience writing and editing content for different organizations.

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