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Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Inopinaves
Order: Opisthocomiformes
Family: Opisthocomidae
Genus: Opisthocomus
Illiger, 1811
Species: O. hoazin
Binomial name
Opisthocomus hoazin
(Muller, 1776)
File:Hoatzin (Opisthocornus hoazin) world.png
Range of the Hoatzin

The Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin), is a species of tropical bird found in swamps, riparian forests, and mangroves of the Amazon and the Orinoco basins in South America. It is notable for having chicks that have claws on two of their wing digits.

Large, dumpy bird found around lake edges and slow-moving streams. Head looks too small for its large brown body. Its orange mohawk, blue facial skin, and stubby bill make this bird extremely distinctive. Usually found in groups or pairs. Moves clumsily around waterside vegetation, making loud huffing noises.[2]

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Other common names also known as the reptile bird, skunk bird, stinkbird, or Canje pheasant


For decades ornithologists have debated the relationships of this unique South American bird: at various times the Hoatzin has been thought to be related to Galliformes (cracids and relatives) or to Cuculiformes (cuckoos and relatives), but to date the Hoatzin has defied easy classification.[3]

It is the only member of the genus Opisthocomus (Ancient Greek: "long hair behind", referring to its large crest).[4] This is the only extant genus in the family Opisthocomidae. The taxonomic position of this family has been greatly debated by specialists, and is still far from clear.

Similar and related species







  1. ^ BirdLife International (2009). Opisthocomus hoazin. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 12 August 2011.
  2. ^ Hoatzin
  3. ^ Billerman, S. M. (2020). Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, B. K. Keeney, P. G. Rodewald, and T. S. Schulenberg, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.
  4. ^ Thomas, B. T. (1996). "Family Opisthocomidae (Hoatzins)". In Josep, del Hoyo; Andrew, Jordi; Sargatal, Christie. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 3, Hoatzins to Auks. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. pp. 24–32. ISBN 978-84-87334-20-7. 

External links