Screamer, the name of a group of South American wading birds, of the subfamily pala-medeinoe, so named from the loudness and shrillness of the voice. The bill is short, elevated, and curved like that of a gallinaceous bird; nostrils large and exposed; wings long, with the shoulder armed with two or three strong spurs; tail moderate and rounded; tarsi long, strong, with numerous small scales; toes long, the anterior united by a short membrane, and the claws long and curved. - In the genus palamedea (Linn.), the third and fourth quills are the longest, and the forehead is ornamented by a slender cylindrical horn; the lores are feathered. The horned screamer (P. cornuta, Linn.), or kamichi, is larger than a goose, about 3 1/3 ft. long, blackish with a red spot on each shoulder, and lower parts from the breast white; the bill is black and 2 1/4 in. long, the horn 3 in. and movable in all directions, and the largest spur 1 1/2 in. They live generally in pairs in the inundated districts of Brazil and Guiana, especially near the sea; they are shy and timid, and have a very piercing voice, uttered at the slightest alarm; they occasionally perch on trees; the food consists of aquatic seeds and plants, and perhaps of reptiles. They are strictly monogamous.
The nest is made on or near the ground, in the form of an oven; the eggs are two, as large as those of a goose, and the young are abroad by January or February; the flesh of the young is good eating. - The faithful screamer (channa chavaria, Ill.) is nearly 3 ft. long, of a blackish lead color, with a white spot at the back of the wings and another at the base of some of the large quills; there is no horn on the head, and the occiput is adorned with a circle of erectile plumes, the other feathers of the part being downy; the collar is black. It possesses the singular power of inflating the skin of the body and legs with air. It is a native of South America as far south as Paraguay, and the food consists of aquatic plants. They are easily domesticated.
Horned Screamer (Palamedea cornuta).