Yelping Zara welcomes tropical visitors

zaraEB''Zara, the newest attraction at the Tropical Butterflym House in North Anston.
zaraEB''Zara, the newest attraction at the Tropical Butterflym House in North Anston.
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A LOUD bird which is descended from a prehistoric predator is welcoming visitors to a popular attraction near Sheffield.

Zara, a red-legged seriema, is the latest arrival at the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre in North Anston.

The South American bird’s cry, often compared to the sound of a yelping puppy, can be heard from several miles away.

And the creature is the only living relative of the prehistoric ‘terror bird’ - a flightless predatory bird with sharp toes and fast speeds roaming South America up to 23 million years ago.

Heather Scott, animal presenter at the centre, said: “Seriemas are mainly ground-dwelling birds and are quick runners too.

“They have three sharp front toes and one smaller hind toe on each foot.

“Although seriemas are substantially less dangerous, they can still be quite fearsome, beating their prey on the ground or throwing it against a hard surface to kill it.

“I’m sure everyone will agree, though, that Zara is a beauty and not fierce-looking at all.”

The 10-month-old bird is making herself at home in the glass-fronted aviary at the entrance to the park.

And she will soon be trained for the ‘aerial antics’ free-flying bird displays.