Interesting Birds – Hoatzin

Hoatzin by Birdway

Hoatzin by Birdway

The Birds of the Bible usually cover the birds specifically mentioned by name in the Bible, but because of variation within the “kinds”, I decided to start covering some of their “Relatives.” The latest DNA-DNA and other testing have put the Hoatzin in the Cuckoo (Cuculiformes-cuckoos and relatives) family, but that data is being questioned at at present, they aren’t sure where to place it. For now, I stuck it with the Cuckoos. See Birds of the Bible – Cuckoo. (In IOC status it is in the Opisthocomidae Family)

The South American Hoatzin (pronunced hoh-AT-sin), is another of the Lord’s birds that keep evolutionist confused. Most birds eat berries or insects, but the Hoatzin, eats like a cow!

Is anything too hard for the LORD? (Gen 18:14 NKJV)

“The Hoatzin has one more odd characteristic that scientists find the most puzzling of all. Ninety five percent of its diet is leaves. It’s the only bird known to digest its food the same way cows and other ruminants do. Just like ruminants, the Hoatzin uses bacteria to break down the plant material it eats in a special chamber above its stomach.

Hoatzin by Birdway's Ian Montgomery

Hoatzin by Birdway’s Ian Montgomery

How do evolutionists explain this oddity? As one evolutionary scientist who has studied the Hoatzin for decades said, “Hoatzins don’t seem to follow the rules of evolution.” While he admitted to being creative in being able to come up with evolutionary explanations for creatures, he said that he was never able to arrive
at an evolutionary explanation for the Hoatzin’s digestive arrangement.

This leads us to glorify God for one more aspect of His creative work. In creating the Hoatzin, He was able to design a creature that defies any explanation humans might try to invent to deny that He is the Creator. Truly the creation declares His handiwork! (from Creation Moments, World’s Strangest Bird)

“The Hoatzin live in the backwater swamps of the Amazon and Orinco basins in South America.” They eat flowers, fruits, leaves of many marshland plants. The vegetable matter is fermented in their foregut like a cow, sheep, kangaroos and deer, while they sit around digesting their food.

“The Hoatzin chick features a rare anatomical feature — two claws on each budding wing which help it grip branches and clamber about awkwardly. This feature has been compared to Archaeopteryx, the fossil proto-bird, and lend a antediluvian background to what is already a really weird bird. Hoatzins live in family groups and small aggregations (up to 40 birds) and are social throughout the year.
During breeding birds occupy densely packed exclusive territories, sometimes up to 28 nests in one tree. They are noisy and often vocalize in unison with a collection of hoarse cries, grunts, growls and hisses. ” (from Hoatzin, Bird families of the World, see below)

Hoatzin by Ian

Hoatzin by Ian

The birds are pheasant-sized at about 25 inches with a long neck and small head. It’s face is unfeathered with maroon eyes, and its head is topped by a spiky, rufous crest. The bird is also called “stickbird” because of the bird’s manure-like odor, caused by the digestive system.

Though conspicuous, even attractive, at close range due to its bizarre shape and striking colors, unwary and a poor flier, it is not considered endangered. In fact, its survival seems to be more assured than that of many other endemics of its range. In Brazil, tribal people sometimes collect the eggs for food, and the adults are occasionally hunted, but in general this is rare, as it is reputed to have a bad taste. While its preferred habitats, mangrove and riverine forest, are disappearing fast in some regions, it is less threatened than terra firme forest, which is the primary target for deforestation in the Amazon. The Hoatzin therefore remains fairly common in a large part of its range.

Links about the Hoatzin:
Bird eats like a cow!
Hoatzin at Wikipedia
Hoatzin at Bird Families of the World

Hoatzins, Guyana’s National Bird aka the Stink Bird

Updated 12/17/09

From BereanBeacon

4 thoughts on “Interesting Birds – Hoatzin

  1. There are many birds that eat plants as a large part of their diets, geese and ducks for example. You also utilize a quote that mentions “Archaeopteryx, the fossil proto-bird”, how do you rationalize that? Laughing at ornithologists in one paragraph and then using an evolutionarily ancestral species in an the next…


    • No one was laughing at ornithologists. Not all ornithologists are evolutionist. The article quoted an evolutionist who said it didn’t fit in any evolutionary mode. That is because it didn’t evolve. Evolution denies that there is a God that created all this. If they want to believe that, that is their choice, but just because they say birds and other things evolved doesn’t make it so. Denying the Lord and going to hell is no “laughing” matter. It is very sad.


  2. The Hoatzin baffles man just like the hummingbird does – how can the hummingbird possibly fly? It’s aerodynamically impossible! (God smiles.)
    Your posts are always soooo informative, Lee. Thanks a bunch!


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