Order Opisthocomiformes

Family Opisthocomidae

Hoatzin
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General

Monotypic family of uncertain affinities. Some morphological similarities with Galliformes, especially Cracidae. Recent work suggests relationship with Cuculiformes, near Crotophaginae; shares with some cuckoos (Cuculidae) and some turacos (Musophagidae) an ancestral adaptation of bill apparatus linked with food-processing#R, although anisodactyl toe structure quite different from zygodactyl arrangement of all cuckoos. Genetic studies suggested possible relationship with either cuckoos or turacos (latter supported by osteological, behavioural and fossil evidence)#R; another study, using both mitochondrial and nuclear genes, found Columbiformes as closest relative (weakly supported), to the exclusion of both Cuculidae and Musophagidae#R.

  • Large, gregarious, arboreal birds, with prominent crest, long tail and large wings.
  • N South America, E of Andes.
  • Tropical forested wetlands.
  • 62-70 cm.
  • 1 genus, 1 species, 1 taxon.
  • 0 species threatened;
    none extinct since 1600.

Recommended citation

Thomas, B.T. & Bonan, A. (2017). Hoatzin (Opisthocomidae). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/52223 on 23 November 2017).