Hoatzin: Opisthocomiformes - Diet
These herbivores (plant eaters) feed on little else than tree leaves. They like young leaves and shoots as well as flowers and buds. They eat throughout the day, with especially long feeding periods at sunrise and sunset. Hoatzins enjoy leaves from more than fifty plant species.
Hoatzins have stomachs similar to those of cows in that they ferment (break down for easier digestion) their food. In other birds with multi-chambered stomachs, fermentation usually occurs in the hindgut (end of the digestive system). But hoatzins have particularly large crops (pouches that resemble stomachs where food is held) containing enzymes that attack food and break it down. The remaining fatty acids are absorbed through the crop wall and used as energy. These bacteria become a source of protein, carbon, and other nutrients. The crop also breaks down toxins present in a number of the plant leaves eaten by hoatzins.
- Hoatzin: Opisthocomiformes - Behavior And Reproduction
- Hoatzin: Opisthocomiformes - Physical Characteristics
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