With its large, heavy body and small head, the Hoatzin is unlike the cuckoos, to which it is now thought to be closely related. It inhabits swampy forest edges bordering rivers and lakes, where it nests above the water. Parties and small flocks feed on green leaves. The Hoatzin eats large quantities of these, which it stores in its crop to digest. The full crop swells up and appears to weigh the bird down, making movement awkward and flight laborious. If threatened, nestlings will drop into the water below the nest, in which they are able to swim: they then climb back, with the help of a claw on the forward edge of each wing.

• NEST A frail platform of sticks in a tree above water.

• Distribution From Venezuela to Bolivia and Brazil, distribution crop bulging with recently eaten leaves spitzeres!


finely buried wings

long, powerful legs

Dark I'iiasi;

Barn Owl

This bird can be recognized by the "heart shape" formed by the pair of facial disks around its eyes. It has an easy, drifting style of flight, and hunts by flying low over open ground, or by watching from a perch before swooping on silent wings to seize prey. The species can hunt in total darkness, locating prey by sound. Mice, rats, and any small animals that move are eaten. The best known call is a long, quavering screech uttered in flight, but nesting birds also make snoring, hissing calls.

• NEST An unlined scrape or cavity in a tree hole, or in a barn or other building.

• DISTRIBUTION Much of North and South America, Europe, Africa, and through

S. and S.E. Asia to Australia. • REMARK Color phases (see p. 13) range from light to dark.

finely buried wings

Dark I'iiasi;

long, powerful legs

Plumage Scx<;s a|ikc

Migration Non.miRrant

Family TyrONlDAI-:

Species phoditus badius

narrow facial disk

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