It’s an alarming sight: a red-legged seriema lying on her chest with both wings splayed out, her head resting listlessly on the ground. You might think she’s suffering from an extreme illness—or even dead.
But in reality, she’s not in distress at all. She’s simply sunbathing in her own seriema way!
Long-time Zoo-goers will recall that our seriema pair, Sonya and Beast, once had their own habitat near the vultures; this space was densely packed with vegetation and had a smaller viewing area, so guests rarely had the opportunity to observe sunbathing behavior. The new multi-species aviary to which they were moved earlier this year, however, is more open with a much clearer look at the seriemas—translating to increased reports of guests concerned for the birds’ health.
“We appreciate how vigilant our visitors are when it comes to the well-being of our animals,” said behavioral husbandry and wellness manager Ellen Dreyer. “Although it may be upsetting to see for the first time, sunbathing in this fashion is completely normal for seriemas. In fact, it makes us happy because it means they’re comfortable enough with us to do something that would make them very vulnerable to predators in their natural range.”
Visit Rainforest Revealed on a sunny day to see this fascinating behavior for yourself!