Red-legged Seriema

Details About The Red-legged Seriema

  • General Information

    Red-legged Seriemas are large birds with bright red legs and beak, and a crest of feathers on the top of their head. Their bodies are a grayish brown color and their wings have black and white barring. The bare skin around their eyes is usually a blue hue, and they have feathers modified into eyelashes on their upper eyelids.

    Latin Name: Cariama cristata

    Class: Aves

    Order: Cariamiformes

    Family: Carimidae

    Length: 30-36 inches

    Weight: 3 pounds

    Wingspan: 3-4 feet

    Common Name: Red-legged Seriema, Crested Seriema

    Etymology: Cristata means “crested”

  • Flight, Voice & Habitat

    Seriemas rarely fly, and will only do so to avoid predation or to reach a branch for roosting. When they do fly, their flight consists of bursts of rapid wing beats followed by gliding.

    Their song has been described as a combination between a dog barking and a turkey clucking. Songs often start with a male, and several other birds may join in.

    Red-legged Seriemas prefer grassland, savannahs, and woodland habitats.

  • Nesting

    Red-legged Seriemas nest on the ground and in trees. The nest is built by males and females and consists of twigs and sticks, and is often lined with leaves and mud. Breeding season varies throughout their distribution, but generally starts during the rainy season. Females will lay two eggs, and chicks will hatch after a 25-30 day incubation period. Chicks will leave the nest and follow their parents around two weeks after hatching, fledge at one month, but take 4-5 months to gain adult plumage.

  • Distribution

    Red-legged Seriemas are found throughout South America; their range stretches from Brazil to Bolivia, and even into Uruguay and central Aregntina.

  • Food

    Their diet consists mostly of insects, spiders, small rodents, lizards, frogs, and occasionally other birds. They will supplement their diet with seeds, fruits, and grains, and are therefore considered omnivores.

  • Fun Facts & Other Interesting Information

    Red-legged Seriemas will run instead of fly to avoid predators, and can reach speeds of 15 miles per hour. When they catch their prey (especially lizards, snakes, and mice), Red-legged Seriemas will repeatedly slam their prey into the ground until it is dead, then will tear it into bite sized pieces.