The Hoatzin or the Canje Pheasant (as it is commonly called in Guyana) is Guyana’s National Bird and a rare looking species that is believed to offer a direct link to archaeopteryx, the first known bird in the world. The Hoatzin, whose average adult length is 22 inches, has a stocky, pear shaped body, reddish-brown feathers streaked white around the shoulders, and a pale brown underside. Long tail feathers and an elongated neck flank the plump body. These are normal attributes, but aren’t the characteristics that draw birders from around the world. The Hoatzin’s blood red eyes peer forth from a ring of bright-blue skin set on a tiny head that seems more diminutive, thanks to an unruly crest of long feathers. The chicks are born with two prehistoric claws protruding from their wings; the same claws are seen in archaeopteryx fossils. The bird call comprises of hoarse cries, hisses, and grunts. Birders often travel to Mahaica and Abary regions, and other low coastal plains to see this unique bird.

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