The Stately Seriema Bird
There are two species of seriemas, the Red-legged Seriema (Cariama cristata) and the Black-legged Seriema (Chunga burmeisteri). Both species are long-legged terrestrial birds around 91 cm (36 in) long; the Red-legged Seriema is slightly bigger than the Black-legged. They live in grasslands, savanna, dry woodland and open forests of Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
They forage on foot and run from danger rather than fly (though they can fly for short distances, and they roost in trees). They have long legs, necks, and tails, but only short wings, reflecting their way of life. They are brownish birds with short bills and erectile crests, found on fairly dry open country, the Red-legged Seriema preferring grasslands and the Black-legged Seriema preferring scrub and open woodland. They give loud, yelping calls (often compared with barking puppies) and are often heard before they are seen. The have sharp claws, with an extensible and very curved second toe claw.
The two extant species of seriema are thought to be the closest living relatives of a group of gigantic (up to 10 ft/3.0 m tall) carnivorous “terror birds”, the phorusrhacids, which are known from fossils from South and North America
They feed on insects, snakes, lizards, frogs, young birds, and rodents, with small amounts of plant food (including maize and beans). They often associate with grazing livestock, probably to take insects the animals disturb. When seriemas catch small reptiles, they beat the prey on the ground or throw it at a hard surface to break resistance and also the bones. If the prey is too large to swallow whole, it will be ripped into smaller pieces with a sickle claw by holding the prey in the beak and tearing it apart with the claw.
Source: From Wikipedia, licensed under CC-BY-SA
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