Southern Screamer

Southern Screamer (Chauna torquata)  Jax Zoo by Lee

Southern Screamer (Chauna torquata) Jax Zoo by Lee

It came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened.” (1 Kings 18:27 NASB)

Here is an introduction to another of the Lord’s neat creations. This one can be quite noisy at times. Not sure if that qualifies as a “joyful noise.” We have seen them at the Jacksonville Zoo and the Cincinnati Zoo.

The southern screamer (Chauna torquata), also known as the crested screamer, belongs to the order Anserformes. In the Anhimidae – Screamers Family. 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.

Based on DNA analysis they are probably most closely related to the Australian magpie goose. (National Zoo)

Southern Screamer (Chauna torquata)  Jax Zoo by Lee

Southern Screamer (Chauna torquata) Jax Zoo by Lee

The southern screamer averages 32–37 in (81–95 cm) long and weighs 6.6–11.0 lb (3–5 kg). They are the heaviest, although not necessarily the longest, of the three screamers. The wingspan is around 67 in (170 cm). Among standard measurements, the wing chord measures 21 in (54 cm), the tail 9.1 in (23.2 cm), 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.

Southern Screamer (Chauna torquata)  Jax Zoo by Lee

Southern Screamer (Chauna torquata) Jax Zoo by Lee

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. “Highly vocal, they are named for their distinctive , far-carrying calls, easily carrying for several miles.”(NZ) The Southern Screamer is the most gregarious of the 3 screamer species and the most numerous. 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. (Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Southern Screamer Sign at Cincinnati  Zoo

Southern Screamer Sign at Cincinnati


Here is a Southern Screamer from xeno-canto:


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Fact Sheets:

Southern Screamer – Jacksonville Zoo

Southern Screamer – National Zoo

Screamer – Online Zoo

Southern Screamer – Wikipedia




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