Open Veterinary Journal

Open Veterinary Journal

Peer-Reviewed Journal 
ISSN 2218-6050 (Online), ISSN 2226-4485 (Print) 

"Case Report"

Mortality of four captive-born crested screamer chicks (Chauna torquata)

Lana Fox(1,*), Alexis Moreno(2) and Gregory Bradley(3,4)

1- Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, Department of Zoological Medicine, 409 Raymond Stotzer Pkwy, College Station, TX 77845, USA

2- Reid Park Zoo, Department of Veterinary Services, 1100 S Randolph Way, Tucson, AZ 85716, USA

3- Arizona Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, 2831 N. Freeway, Tucson, AZ 85705, USA

4- The University of Arizona, Department of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences, 1117 E. Lowell St., Tucson, AZ 85721, USA


Crested screamers, a unique, mainly terrestrial avian species native to South America, are known to have a markedly high chick mortality rate in captivity, ranging from 61-94%; however, there is very limited information on this species’ natural history within the literature, and even less about common diseases that affect them. Four captive-born crested screamer chicks (Chauna torquata) at a U.S. zoological institution died acutely from different causes over the course of two and a half months. Although a hands-off approach was initially taken, each chick became acutely weak on exhibit and medical intervention was deemed necessary, but proved unsuccessful in all cases. Necropsy results of the chicks revealed various causes of death, including acute E. coli colitis, aspiration pneumonia complicated by concurrent gastrointestinal Candidiasis, severe dehydration and emaciation, and acute amoebic gastroenteritis. No direct associations were found between these deaths and diet or husbandry; however, the limited literature on this topic suspects inadequate husbandry and immunosuppression to be the greatest cause of chick mortality in this species. The cases presented here are consistent with this hypothesis, but further exemplify the limited knowledge of this species and how to optimize their survivability and proliferation in captivity.

Keywords: Amoebic gastroenteritis, Candidiasis, Chauna torquata, Chick mortality, Crested screamer.

Cite this paper:

Fox, L., Moreno, A. and Bradley, G. 2019. Mortality of four captive-born crested screamer chicks (Chauna torquata). Open Vet. J. 9(2), 120-125.