Caripe

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Oilbird

The oilbird (Steatornis caripensis), locally known as the guácharo, is a bird species found in the northern areas of South America including the island of Trinidad. It is the only species in the genus Steatornis and the family Steatornithidae. Nesting in colonies in caves, oilbirds are nocturnal feeders on the fruits of the oil palm and tropical laurels. They are the only nocturnal flying fruit-eating birds in the world. They forage at night, with specially adapted eyesight. However they navigate by echolocation in the same way as bats, and are one of the few kinds of birds known to do so.

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lets talk about oilbirds instead, ask meme tomorrow after that disaster

OILBIRDS are, as their name would suggest, QUITE OILY. They are so incredibly oily because their diet consists almost entirely of oil palm fruits. The name oilbird pays homage to the slightly more sobering fact that the chicks of these birds were killed and boiled down into an oil, for combustive activities such as flame lamps and cooking. Their latin name is significantly less dark; Steatornis caripensis means “fat bird from Caripe”. 

Here is a photo of an oilbird, by Mauricio Rueda:

Oilbirds live mostly in caves in northern South America, coming out at night to forage for fruit. They live in enormous colonies - one locality,  Guácharo Cave, is thought to have a colony of over 15,000 birds. Being nocturnal, oilbirds have very good low-light adapted eyesight, but when conditions are bad, they also do something no other bird does: They can echolocate, using fast clicks of around 2000 Hz (about 250 every second) to find food. Most of their vocalisations, however, are far from charming. The french name for this bird (diablotin) alludes to the fact that their usual screeching sounds like “the cries of tortured men”. The spanish name guácharo illustrates this also, simply meaning “wailer”

Oilbirds are also very unique taxonomically, being the only species in the family Steatornithidae, and possibly different enough to warrant a new order of cypselomorphs. Their closest relatives are caprimulgiformes, aka. nightjars and allies. They are also notable in being the only volant, nocturnal birds that are frugivorous, as well as having a retinal structure that is not found in any other vertebrate. 

Fun facts about oilbirds: Baby oilbirds are delightfully fat due to the high lipid content of their diet; their feet are short and weak and so the birds cannot perch or stand. They spend their lives either sitting, in flight, or shuffling around awkwardly; they can fly over 70 miles a day from their roost cave to find food. 

TLDR; my fat oily boys who live in a cave and scream