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Red-legged seriema

Scientific Name: Cariama cristata

Red-legged seriemas have a primarily brown plumage with black and white banded wing feathers. They have a distinctive crest of feathers above their beak. Their beak and legs are a red-orange colour and around the eyes the bare skin is blue.

The breeding season for the red-legged seriema varies throughout its range. For example in north Brazil it breeds from February to July, but in Argentina breeding is in November and December. The breeding pair nest alone and produce a round structure of twigs, in a tree, lined with leaves and clay. The female is more involved with the incubation and feeding than the male. Chicks fledge at one month old, but do not get their adult feathers for another four months.

The diet of the red-legged seriema consists of insects, spiders, lizards, rodents and other small animals. In addition to animal prey they eat grains such as corn and have, on occasion, been observed eat fruit and tree sap. They feed alone or in small groups, walking slowly to check bushes and grasses for prey.

The red-legged seriema is classed as Least Concern. They have a large population, although the precise numbers are unknown. They occupy a large range and, currently, have no known threats. They are rarely hunted for meat and, in many areas, are protected by farmers who regard them as useful predators of rats and snakes.

Key Facts:

  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Distribution: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay
  • Habitat: Savannah, Temperate Forest
  • Diet: Insects, Seeds, Small Mammals, Small Reptiles
  • Height: 75 – 90cm
  • Weight: 1.5kg
  • No. of young: 2 – 3