Crested cariama

Source: and, photo by Manfred Werner
The crested cariama, or red-legged seriema, is a terrestrial bird originating in South America. This bird seldom flies, instead running away when threatened. Seriemas used to be categorised as gruiformes (crane-like), ...
but DNA research has shown that they are at the basis of the group that includes the falcons, parakeets and songbirds. The family consists of two species, the crested or red-legged seriema (Cariama cristata) from Southeast Brazil and Central Argentina and the black-legged seriema (Chunga curmeisteri) from Paraguay and Northwest Argentina.
Crested cariamas are 75 to 90 cm tall and weigh about 1,5 kg. They have red-orange legs; their heads sport a pretty crest consisting of rigid feathers which always stand up straight, up to 10 cm tall. Crested cariamas are one of the few birds with eyelashes.
These birds eat insects, snakes, lizards, frogs, small rodents and young birds. Their diet is further supplemented with vegetable matter such as maize and beans.
The call of the crested cariama is unusual. It is described as a cross between a young dog’s bark and a turkey’s clucking. The birds can often be heard singing in the morning, their way of establishing territory.
This summer a young crested cariama hatched in Zooparc Overloon (Netherlands). The young bird has now left the nest and struts through its enclosure.
Photo license: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0