Northern screamer

This bird can most definitely break a wine glass with its singing


Northern screamer


This bird can most definitely break a wine glass with its singing

Population 10,000

These somewhat prehistoric-looking birds can be found meandering through the marshy wetlands of northern South America, primarily in Colombia and Venezuela. Their presence is captivating due to their distinctive features and behaviors.

The appearance of the Northern Screamer is notable for its long, black neck, which contrasts sharply with its predominantly grey body. The black neck is not only for beauty but also serves as a tool for thermoregulation and a display feature during courtship rituals. Their greyish plumage is adorned with a tiny, hooked bill that is more than just an aesthetic attribute – it is a specialized tool that allows the bird to forage for a variety of plant materials, small invertebrates, and insects.

The Northern Screamer’s facial features include a base of the lower mandible, lores, and prominent eyering that are all a vivid red, adding to the bird’s visual allure. The deep brown eyes are sharp and provide excellent vision, which is essential for spotting predators or prey. Their legs and feet are a reddish-pink, robust enough to support their size and weight. Furthermore, the slightly webbed soles adapt to their semi-aquatic lifestyle, enabling them to walk on soft, marshy ground and swim in the water.

These screamers have a call that is as distinctive as their appearance. Their loud, echoing calls can be heard over long distances, communicating between mates, signaling a warning to others, and establishing their territory.

The habitat preferences of the Northern Screamer are as specific as their physical characteristics. They favor environments such as marshes, swamps, lagoons, and banks of slow-moving rivers. These areas are typically surrounded by lush vegetation and woodlands that provide both food and shelter. The birds are also attracted to seasonally flooded plains, which offer an abundance of food resources when inundated.


Population est.
Official estimate
Official estimate

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic / Monomorphic (size)

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Flock

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No