Saturday, January 29, 2011


Hoatzin   Opisthocomus hoazin     Guyana's National Bird, locally called 'Canje Pheasant', with Canje being a river in Guyana.  Some people call them 'Stinkbirds' because they smell bad (see digestive system)

The Hoatzin is a very peculiar bird.  How peculiar - well, go read what Wikipedia has to say about it here.  It has a digestive system different from other birds, to digest its diet of leaves.  The young hoatzins have claws on their wrists to help them crawl back into trees, after they jump into the river to escape preditors, or bale out for other reasons - maybe just to take a little swim in the hot, humid afternoon.  Perhaps our fearless leader, Richard Knapton, will weigh-in with his knowledge re this bird.

Whatever, it was an absolute joy to see these birds.  They are wonderful.

Ha!  The birds are big, bulky and a tad awkward.  Their landings on thin vines are more than a little graceless!  (I think I'll start a Facebook album featuring bird bottoms - it is often one's sole view when birding from far below on the forest floor).

Click on photos to enlarge, if you want to.


  1. OK - now I'm jealous. I've always been fascinated by these birds since I watched a show on them quite a few years ago. Great Pics!

  2. Thanks, Harvey. I probably saw the same show. Our trip itinerary was a little confusing the first couple of days and read as if we may not get a chance to see the hoatzins (they are only along the coastal rivers, not inland Guyana). However, we did. It was great. My #2 most wanted bird of the trip.

  3. Great pics! What an amazing bird to see!

  4. Beautiful birds. Thanx for sharing.