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Anhima cornuta

Horned Screamer

  • Order: Anseriformes
  • Family: Anhimidae
  • Monotypic

Authors: Piland, Natalia

Anhima cornuta

Manu, Madre de Dios, Peru; 17 November 2009 © Kaitlyn Rose

The characteristic spiny appendage on the top of the Horned Screamer's head could rightfully earn it the title of "unicorn of the avian world." This bizarre relative of ducks and swans is found along rivers and freshwater marshes in northern and central South America. It tends to aggregate in pairs and small groups that never are as large as are flocks of the two other species of screamer. The Horned Screamer is herbivorous and forages by grazing and digging along the water. These birds are very vocal and can be heard dueting to make its call: ha-moo-co. This call gives it its local name jamuco or camungo. Yet, the Horned Screamer's strange physical features don't stop at its horn. It also has spurs on its wings that are used for fighting, and huge legs that contain many air sacs and are also used to make sound. All in all, the Horned Screamer is likely to make anyone feel as if they've stepped into a more prehistoric Amazon. 

Recommended Citation

Piland, Natalia. 2010. Horned Screamer (Anhima cornuta), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Resident (nonmigratory)
  • Primary Habitat:Freshwater marshes
  • Foraging Strata:Terrestrial
  • Foraging Behavior:Pull
  • Diet:Greens
  • Sociality:Solitary/Pairs
  • Mating System:Monogamy
  • Nest Form:Platform
  • Clutch: 2 - 7
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern