|in the Pantanal, Brazil|
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. 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). They are the heaviest, although not necessarily the longest, of the three screamers. The wingspan is around 170 cm (67 in). 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). It lives in tropical and sub-tropical swamps, estuaries and watersides.
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. 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. 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.
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