Year of 2017

Two hoatzins, perched in Brazil

We’re still waiting for the poet who dares to write an ode to the hoatzin, a bird that earns its other common name: stinkbird. Native to the Amazon mangrove swamps and the Orinoco Delta, the hoatzin has a digestive system more like a cow’s than a bird’s. It digests the leaves it eats with a gut full of enzymes that ferment the food, and that fermentation gives off an unpleasant odor. Surely there’s some inspiration there. Where’s Ogden Nash when you need him?

The hoatzin, also known as the stinkbird, or Canje pheasant, is a species of tropical bird found in swamps, riparian forests, and mangroves of the Amazon and the Orinoco Delta in South America. It is notable for having chicks that possess claws on two of their wing digits.
Scientific name: Opisthocomus hoazin