A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife
The Hoatzin is a bird, considered a relic from the age of the dinosaurs. They represent the only living member of the family Opisthocomidae, and its close relatives probably died out long ago. When young, hoatzins have claws on their wings. This feature is a remnant from what is considered the first species of bird, Archaeopteryx, which lived about 150 million years ago. One of this species' many peculiarities is that it has a digestive system unique amongst birds. Hoatzins use bacterial fermentation in the front part of the gut to break down the vegetable material they consume, much like cattle and other ruminants.
The Hoatzin lives in flooded forests along streams, mangroves, swamps, where they can find aquatic vegetation, mainly giant arums which are their preferred food.