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Sunday, March 26, 2023

Chachalaca – Ornithology

The title of the dance referred to as the Cha Cha is derived from the shuffling sound of the dancers’ toes after they dance two consecutive fast steps. It’s an onomatopoeia, which means that the title comes from a sound. Initially from Cuba, it was first referred to as the Cha Cha Cha because the footwork goes one, two, cha cha cha. Not that I’m any skilled – I couldn’t dance the Cha Cha if my life relied on it.

Then there’s the chicken, the Chachalaca. There are two explanations for the title. It could be onomatopoetic, named after their name, or it might be of a special derivation from the late nineteenth century native South American language, Classical Nahuatl chachalacani (“tattler, gossiper”).

I simply spent every week in coastal Mexico close to a big lake the place I noticed and heard quite a few chachalacas, normally in free teams in massive timber. There are 13-16 species of chachalacas, distributed from the far southern U.S. to South America. The species I noticed was the endemic West Mexican Chachalaca, Chachalaca poliocephala (which means gray-headed chachalaca). Their eating regimen consists principally of fruit, and to some extent seeds, acorns, leaves and bugs. They forage principally in timber, working alongside branches however often descending to the bottom. Some species will overwhelm chicken feeders when fruit is obtainable.

West Mexican Chachalaca

Social birds belonging to the order Galliformes (together with chickens, turkeys, quail, and peacocks) and the household Cracidae (chachalacas, guans, and currasows), chachalacas considerably resemble underfed chickens with lengthy tails. They’ve small heads, comparatively lengthy necks and legs, they’re principally brown or tan with some species having areas of purple, grey, cream, black, or blue. Most chachalacas are about 20 inches lengthy and weigh a pound or much less. They construct nests in timber, laying two to 3 massive white eggs, which solely the feminine incubates. The younger are precocial and are born with an intuition to instantly climb and search shelter within the nesting tree. They can fly inside days of hatching

Chachalacas have a tendency to assemble in teams and be very vocal, calling to one another from mid-level within the timber. They’re typically the obvious sound of the forests the place they dwell. The birds are identified for his or her raucous vocalizations; talkative individuals in Spanish-speaking areas of Central and South America are generally referred to as chachalacas.

Chaco Chachalaca- central South America

Many species of chachalacas are hunted. In 4 counties of southern Texas, the Plain Chachalaca, Ortalis vetula, looking season is late October by way of February. Their low populations, drab coloration, and behavior of staying low in thick brush when threatened fairly than flying makes them a problem for hunters. The chicken tends to be on a hunter’s bucket record after she or he has bagged the extra widespread species.

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