Chachalaca Stock Video Footage


chachalaca

Chachalacas are galliform birds from the genus Ortalis. These birds are found in wooded habitats in the far southern United States (Texas), Mexico, and Central and South America. They are social, can be very noisy and often remain fairly common even near humans, as their relatively small size makes them less desirable to hunters than their larger relatives. As invasive pests, they have a ravenous appetite for tomatoes, melons, beans, and radishes and can ravage a small garden in short order. They travel in packs of six to twelve. They somewhat resemble the guans, and the two have commonly been placed in a subfamily together, though the chachalacas are probably closer to the curassows. The generic name is derived from the Greek word όρταλις, meaning "pullet" or "domestic hen." The common name is an onomatopoeia for the four-noted cackle of the plain chachalaca (O. vetula). Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data tentatively suggest that the chachalacas emerged as a distinct lineage during the Oligocene, somewhere around 40–20 mya, possibly being the first lineage of modern cracids to evolve this does agree with the known fossil record – including indeterminate, cracid-like birds – which very cautiously favors a north-to-south expansion of the family.




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