Specializing in crayfish, crabs, and other crustaceans, this small heron has gourmet tastes. Once considered a rather tropical bird, it has expanded its North American range in recent years to the north and west. It is also found throughout Central and South America. It has nested repeatedly in this exhibit, performing courtship displays and raising chicks.
While this bird is still considered fairly common, deforestation is reducing its habitat throughout its range, from Honduras to Ecuador. A particularly noisy toucan, its puppy-like yelps are heard all day in the DWA rainforest. This is another toucan targeted for breeding by the American Zoo community and nearly 40 are distributed among 20 participating collections. The DWA has been one of the few places to so far breed it in captivity.
Scorpionfish, in general, are notorious for the venomous spines which give them their family name. The six members of the genus Rhinopias stand out for their magnificently bizarre appearance. Their story-book dragon faces, ornate fins, and peculiar under-water waddle, make them fascinating. This species, from the Indian Ocean and Indo-Pacific, was unknown to science until 1977, when it was named to honor the American authority on scorpionfish, who described two other new Rhinopias species in 1973.