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hoatzin

[hoh-at-sin, waht-sin] /hoʊˈæt sɪn, ˈwɑt sɪn/
noun
1.
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
1655-1665
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
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for hoatzin
  • 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.
British Dictionary definitions for hoatzin

hoatzin

/həʊˈætsɪn/
noun
1.
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
Word Origin
C17: from American Spanish, from Nahuatl uatzin pheasant
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Encyclopedia Article for 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.

Learn more about hoatzin with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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19
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