hoatzin

[hoh-at-sin, waht-sin]
noun
a blue-faced, crested bird, Opisthocomus hoazin, of the Amazon and Orinoco forests, having as a nestling a large, temporary claw on the second and third digits of the forelimb, for climbing among the tree branches.
Also, hoactzin.


Origin:
1655–65;Nahuatl huāctzīn, huāhtzīn name for several hen-sized birds of the Valley of Mexico, apparently applied indiscriminately by early naturalists to similar New World birds

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World English Dictionary
hoatzin or hoactzin (həʊˈætsɪn)
 
n
a unique South American gallinaceous bird, Opisthocomus hoazin, with a brownish plumage, a very small crested head, and clawed wing digits in the young: family Opisthocomidae
 
[C17: from American Spanish, from Nahuatl uatzin pheasant]
 
hoactzin or hoactzin
 
n
 
[C17: from American Spanish, from Nahuatl uatzin pheasant]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

hoatzin

primitive chicken-sized bird of South American swamps, principally in the Amazon and Orinoco river basins. The young possess two large claws on each wing, a trait that has led some scientists to link the species with the fossil Archaeopteryx of the dinosaur era. The hoatzin is the only bird with a digestive system that ferments vegetation as a cow does, which enables it to eat leaves and buds exclusively. Hoatzins feed on swamp plants, grinding foliage in a greatly enlarged crop (not the gizzard, as in other birds). Adults can fly clumsily for short distances, but they spend most of their time perched, digesting their leafy food. A large rubbery callus on the bird's breastbone acts as a tripod to keep it from falling over when its stomach is distended.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
We learn to recognize the bark of the toucan, the distant roar of a howler monkey, and the banshee cry of a hoatzin.
The hoatzin has a distinctive plume of red-brown feathers on its head.
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