Red-legged Seriema Cariama cristata




The Red-legged Seriema spends much of its time on the ground and prefers running to flying. They will only take flight if they cannot outrun a pursuer on foot, or if they need to reach a high perch (ie: their nest). They can easily outpace a human, especially with the advantage of the rough, brushy habitat they inhabit, and they are capable of attaining speeds of over to 25 km/h on foot. (Redford & Peters 1986). Seriemas tend to call in the mornings in order to mark their territories, oftening performing a duet with their partner and answering birds from neighboring territories. They are carnivorous, and eat a wide variety of invertebrates and small vertebrates. (Redford & Peters 1986)


Red-legged Seriema pairs are known to be territorial, but little is known about how disputes are settled or how large their territories can be. However, pairs have been recorded calling back and forth with birds in adjacent territories, and fighting between individual birds has been observed on at least one occasion. (Redford & Peters 1986)

Sexual Behavior

Seriemas are monogamous. Breeding occurs during the rainy season, which varies depending on region. In Northeastern Brazil, the rains last from February to July, in central Brazil, September to January, and in Argentina, this season is between November to December. The males will court the female with a simple display, consisting of showing off and stretching the flight feathers on one side, and strutting in front of the female. (USA 2007)

Social and interspecific behavior

Red-legged Seriemas are not a very social species. At most they are seen in groups of two, representing a mating pair, but occasionally groups as large as four are sighted. Interestingly, although this bird clearly likes its solitude, groups of four seem to crowd together, instead of stand apart. Members of this species have been seen fighting with one another. (Redford & Peters 1986)


No information avaliable on natural populations

Recommended Citation

Red-legged Seriema (Cariama cristata), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: