Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Exotic bird in first public display

Phoenix, the red legged Seriema, with a rubber snake at Blair Drummond Safari Park in Stirling
Seriemas are known for their long red legs
Falconer Laura Downie with Phoenix, the red legged Seriema, demonstrating its quick and deadly reactions at Blair Drummond Safari Park

Phoenix the red legged Seriema has sprung into action after recovering from a bout of stage fright.

The exotic bird, which is native to South America, arrived at Blair Drummond Safari Park in Stirling last year but this week marks his first public display.

The bird hunts snakes, lizards, frogs, young birds and rodents and also eats small amounts of plant food such as maize.

Seriemas kill their prey by beating it on the ground or throwing it at a hard surface.

Staff at the park have been using a rubber snake to demonstrate the bird's quick and deadly reactions.

Ross Bibby, Head falconer at Blair Drummond, said: "It took a little time for Phoenix to adapt to his surroundings but he has now settled in and I'm sure he'll be popular with visitors.

"Seriemas have a unique way of killing snakes by throwing them around and it's something that visitors will be shown in our displays. We've been using a rubber snake so that's been keeping him occupied. He's very different from our other birds which makes him a great addition to the park."

Seriemas are known for their long red legs and their call which is said to sound like a mix between a barking puppy and the clucking of a turkey.

They are one of few species of bird that can kill poisonous snakes helping them survive in the wild.

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