The Hoatzin is the national bird of Guyana, a sovereign state on the coast of South America. The Hoatzin is also known by the not so nice name of Stink Bird or Stink Turkey, due to it’s manure like odour!
It is around the same size as a pheasant (26cm) with a blue, unfeathered face, maroon eyes and a mainly brown body.
It feeds mainly on leaves and fruits which it stores in the crop in its throat. The food starts to rot in there and that’s what makes the terrible smell. Also it is a very noisy bird – if you don’t smell it coming you’ll certainly hear it’s groans, creaks, hisses and grunts. These noises are used to communicate between individuals in the group – to let them know of threats or intruders.
One of the most interesting things about this species is that its closest living relative cannot be traced – it shares characteristics with other birds such as doves, hummingbirds and cuckoos but it cannot be placed in to any existing family. Some people think it might be related to Archaeopteryx and when the babies hatch they have claws on their wings that they use to climb in the trees before they can fly. The Hoatzin – as enigmatic as it is stinky!