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The Chonchon (Spanish: chonchón from Mapudungun: chonchon) is a mythical bird from Mapuche religion also present in Chilean and southern Argentine folk myth.


The Chonchon is the magic transformation of the powerful kalkus (Mapuche sorcerers), that knows the secret of the Kalkus, to become this feared creature.

The kalku or the sorcerer would carry out the transformation into a Chonchon by an act of will and being anointed by a magic cream in the throat that eases the removal of the head from the rest of the body, with the removed head then becoming the creature.

The Chonchon has the shape of a human head with feathers and talons; its ears, which are extremely large, serve as wings for its flight on moonless nights. Chonchons are supposed to be endowed with all the magic powers of and can only be seen by other kalkus, or by wizards that want this power.

They are known for their cry of "tue tue tue" during flight. The Chonchon is considered a mythical bird that announces "bad luck", and the form in that the kalkus use to carry out easily their wicked activities. The Kalku transformed in chonchon, also can drink the blood of sleeping people.

See also[edit]


  • Constantino Contreras 2000 (in Spanish). Unidad temática y variedad textual: un tópico social en tres relatos orales, Estudios Filológicos, N° 35

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