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Oilbird with Nestling


Ingela Ihrman, Oilbird with Nestling, 2021

The oilbird, locally known as guácharo, is a nocturnal fruit-eating bird species that breed in colonies in caves in the northern parts of South America. Oilbirds live their life in constant darkness and use clicking or shrieking noises, advanced nocturnal vision and their sense of smell to forage and navigate without daylight. The species’ young develop slowly and are very obese. In the past indigenous peoples used to harvest and cook oilbird nestlings to extract oil for lamps. Some were always left untouched because a curse was said to be put on the deepest part of the cave.

Camera and assistant: Frida Peterson

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