Red Legged Seriema

Cariama cristata

Class: Aves Order: Cariamiformes Family: Cariamidae


Height: 2.5-3 ft   Weight: 3-6 lbs


20-25 years


Small reptiles, rodents, and insects

Habitat & Range

Grasslands and meadows near rivers and streams in Brazil, Uruguay, Northern Argentina

Interesting Facts

  • There are two species of seriema: red-legged and black-legged. Seriemas can fly for short distances, but they prefer walking or running.
  • Seriemas love to sunbathe. On warm, sunny days they can frequently be seen lying motionless on their side. They sometimes appear to be playing dead!
  • Seriemas are believed to be modern-day relatives of the now extinct terror birds. These carnivorous, prehistoric birds ranged in size from 3-9.8 feet and were found in South America.
  • Seriemas have a particularly violent method of killing their prey. They often smash small lizards, snakes, or other prey against the ground or a rock. If their prey is too large to swallow whole, they rip into smaller pieces.

Conservation Status

Least Concern