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Anhimidae – Screamers

Horned Screamer in Peru: Photo by Bradley Hacker

Welcome to our Anhimidae guide! Explore the unique world of screamers, distinctive birds known for their loud calls and striking appearance. Join us as we uncover their behaviors, habitats, and more.

Overview of Anhimidae

Resembling a peculiar amalgamation of mythical creatures, screamers boast a unique blend of features—a small, chicken-like head, the robust body of a goose, and sharp spurs adorning their wing wrists, often utilized in territorial disputes and courtship rituals. Inhabiting the backwaters of South America, these birds predominantly subsist on vegetation, akin to their goose counterparts. Screamers are distinguished by their elongated and sturdy toes, webbed only at their bases, as well as a dermal layer of air-filled sacs lending their flesh a spongy texture. Unlike most birds, screamers lack uncinate processes on their ribs and possess massive, broad wings ideal for soaring. While their name suggests loud vocalizations, screamers actually emit hoarse, eerie calls reminiscent of geese and cranes.