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Aves - Neognathae - Falconiformes - Falconidae - Herpetotheres - Herpetotheres cachinnans

Mandible (Jawbone ) of a Herpetotheres cachinnans (Laughing Falcon)

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Species Description
The Laughing Falcon (Herpetotheres cachinnans) is the only member of the genus Herpetotheres. Its name comes from its characteristic voice which sounds like a loud laugh. The voice has a sharp pitch and resembles a human cry, moving from a joyful sound to a sad sound. At night the bird calls by repeating a "gwa" sound which is followed by a two-note cry. The Laughing Falcon can perch for hours and carries its food to perch. Found in Central and South America, and on the coasts of Mexico, this bird is characterized by a body 18-22 inches long and a wingspan of 31-37 inches. The Laughing Falcon is known for its pale buff head, a black face mask that reaches across neck resembling a collar, pale yellow feet, a dark brown upper body, and a black beak with a pale yellow swelling on top. It pounces on snakes, lizards, centipedes and bats from flight, the attacking from behind the neck of its prey. This species lays its eggs in the cracks of rocks, in the depths of trees and in nests that have been vacated. An interesting difference between the young and adult is the color of the heads; the young have a white head whereas the adults have a pale buff head. Though many may refer to the Laughing Falcon as the "Snake Hawk," do not be mistaken, this bird is not a hawk, but rather a specialist in the field of snake-eating and will even attack venomous snakes!
Skeletal Elements Available

Left Humerus (Left Upper Arm Bone)

Furcula (Wishbone)

Right Humerus (Right Upper Arm Bone)

Mandible (Jawbone )

Sternum (Breast Bone)

Right Tarsometatarsus (Right Fused Element Consisting of Ankle and Middle Foot Bones)

Left Tarsometatarsus (Left Fused Element Consisting of Ankle and Middle Foot Bones)
External Links
Encyclopedia of Life

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