#45. 3 March. Horned Screamer.


Another 30-minute Hunterian sketch. I tried to sight and block out the main shapes before starting on the detail, which isn’t the usual way I work. Capturing the complex texture of the feathers eluded me in the time available, which was a bit frustrating.

What I thought was a ruffled feather at the bird’s breast turned out, after going up to read the label, to be a set of horned “thumbs”. However these strange spurs don’t give it its name:

There is a long spiny structure projecting forward from the crown. This structure is unique among birds and is not derived from a feather but is a cornified structure that is loosely attached to the skull and grows continuously while often breaking at its tip. This gives this species its name. It has two sharp spurs on its wings and feet, which are only partially webbed. – Wikipedia

There was no spiny head structure on the Hunterian exhibit. It seems to have been posed “mid-scream” by William Hunter’s taxidermist, as most images online show a shorter neck.



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