|Geographical Range||Bolivia and southern Brazil to northern Argentina|
|Habitat||Tropical and subtropical wetlands, including marshes, lagoons, flooded fields and lowland lakes|
|Scientific Name||Chauna torquata|
Screamers are well named: their distinctive call is among the loudest of any bird. These are large goose-like birds that spend a good deal of their lives in or around fresh water. They feed on the seeds and succulent leaves of water plants.
Unlike most waterfowl, screamers don’t have webbed feet. Instead, they have long toes that help them grasp vegetation while they wade through their watery habitat. They can swim well, but are also able to walk on dense mats of floating plants.
Crested screamers are non-migratory birds and remain all year in their breeding area. Outside of breeding season, they are even-tempered, gregarious birds. They live in flocks that circle the skies in the evening, calling loudly.
In mating season, however, the birds pair off and become territorial. During occasional breeding skirmishes, they make use of the sharp spurs on their wings. They also use the spurs to defend themselves against predators, which include foxes, wild cats and human hunters.
This species of screamer is not threatened in its range, though it is under increasing pressure from hunting and habitat destruction. Not only are the birds hunted by local people for their meat, but also for their protective behaviors -- young screamers are sometimes raised with chickens, which they readily defend against predators!
Crested screamers seem to be able to adapt to the presence of humans and have been known to colonize cultivated fields in addition to their original habitat.