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BirdNote: The Oilbird's Lightless life

Steve Garvie

Nature has produced some exceptionally odd and unique animals. One such creature is the Oilbird of northern South America.

The Oilbird prefers a diet of wild berries and fruits, especially lipid-rich fruits like palm nuts and avocados (which leads to fatty young and the Oilbird's name). This unusual-looking bird is a leafy reddish-orange color, longer than a crow, with big eyes and a tiny bill protruding from a giant mouth.

Oilbirds reside in extensive colonies that roost in large caves. When the sun sets, Oilbirds emerge from their caves, like huge bats, to forage throughout the countryside for food. Thus, Oilbirds spend most of their lives in complete darkness.