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Southern screamer

Chauna torquata

Southern screamer

Southern screamers may look awkward but they are very good swimmers and fliers. They have strong powerful wings. Each wing has a small spur on it which the bird can use to protect itself and flightless young from predators. Luckily despite their size, they are rarely hunted for meat as their spongy flesh is not very tasty.

Instead, they act as a guard and their screams can be heard more than three kilometres away if they are approached by hunters. They have very large feet with long toes that stop them sinking in marshy ground.

Animal class


Diet - Herbivore/Insectivore
Screamers eat aquatic plants and small invertebrates.

This bird measures up to 94 centimetres and weighs up to 4.5 kilograms.

Southern screamers live in wetlands such as bogs and fens in Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina.

Conservation status
The IUCN does not believe the southern screamer is at risk of extinction in the wild.

Screamers are threatened by the destruction of their wetland habitat. They are also hunted for meat.

Current population
There have been no studies to show how many southern screamers are left in the wild but the species is not rare and the population is believed to be stable.

Zoo population
There are around 280 southern screamers living in zoos worldwide.