Southern screamer
in the Pantanal, Brazil
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anhimidae
Genus: Chauna
C. torquata
Binomial name
Chauna torquata
Oken, 1816
Distribution map

The southern screamer (Chauna torquata), also known as the crested screamer, belongs to the order Anseriformes. It is found in southeastern Peru, northern Bolivia, Paraguay, southern Brazil, Uruguay and northern Argentina.[2] Its diet consists of plants stems, seeds, leaves, and, rarely, small animals.


The southern screamer averages 81–95 cm (32–37 in) long and weighs 3–5 kg (6.6–11.0 lb).[3] They are the heaviest, although not necessarily the longest, of the three screamers.[4] The wingspan is around 170 cm (67 in).[5] Among standard measurements, the wing chord measures 54 cm (21 in), the tail 23.2 cm (9.1 in), the culmen 4.5 cm (1.8 in) and the long tarsus 11 cm (4.3 in).[6] It lives in tropical and sub-tropical swamps, estuaries and watersides.

Behaviour and ecology

The southern screamer is a good swimmer, having partially webbed feet, but prefers to move on the ground. The bony spurs on its wings are used for protection against rival screamers and other enemies. Although it is non-migratory, it is an excellent flier. It lives in large flocks, feeding on the ground in grasslands and cultivated fields until nesting season, when birds pair off.[7] Their unfussy diet makes them amenable to domestication and they make excellent guard animals due to their loud screams.


The southern screamer establishes monogamous relationships that last its lifetime, estimated to be 15 years. Courtship involves loud calling by both sexes, which can be heard up to two miles away.[7] For the nest the couple makes a big platform of reeds, straws, and other aquatic plants in an inaccessible place near water. The female lays between two and seven white eggs. The couple share incubation, which takes 43 to 46 days. Chicks leave the nest as soon as they hatch, but the parents care for them for several weeks. The fledging period takes 8 to 14 weeks.


See also


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Chauna torquata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22679729A92826769. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22679729A92826769.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. ^ Clements, James, (2007) The Clements Checklist of the Birds of the World, Cornell University Press, Ithaca
  3. ^ "Southern Screamer - Chauna torquata". Retrieved 23 September 2008.
  4. ^ del Hoyo, Elliott & Sargatal. Handbook of Birds of the World, Volume 1 Ostrich to Ducks. ISBN 84-87334-10-5
  5. ^ Screamer (2011).
  6. ^ of Birds in the British Museum
  7. ^ a b c "Southern Crested Screamer". Sacramento Zoo. Retrieved 30 December 2009.[permanent dead link]