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Blue-billed curassow

Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Cracidae
Genus and Species: Crax alberti
  • large black bird with a long tail and legs and a short, stubby bill perched on a branch
  • blue billed currasow on a branch
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A critically endangered forest bird, the blue-billed curassow's range has shrunk to include only a few small forest remnants in Colombia.

Physical Description

The blue-billed curassow is black with white feathers on its rear underbelly and at the tip of its tail. It has a light-gray bill with fleshy blue cere (the waxy structures at the base of its bill). The currasow has a hanging wattle, curled black crest feathers and pinkish legs.

Females are black with black-and-white crest feathers and fine white barring on their wings and tail. They have a ruddy lower belly and a bluish base to their bill. Only the female grows a knob on the bill.

Size

The blue-billed curassow is a large bird, standing 32-36 inches (83-93 centimeters) tall. Males are usually larger than females.

Native Habitat

Blue-billed curassows historically occurred throughout northern Colombia. Today, the entire wild population occurs in just a few small remnant areas of tropical lowland forest.

Food/Eating Habits

They eats fruits, worms, insects, snails, crayfish and sometimes carrion. They are primarily terrestrial birds, feeding on the forest floor. 

Reproduction and Development

In the wild, blue-billed curassows breed once a year during the dry season from mid-December to early March. They nest in trees with dense foliage for protection against predators. Females lay two to three white eggs, slightly spotted with pale brown. They incubate the eggs for about 32 days.

Typically, one or two young hatch successfully. Chicks hatch full-feathered and leave the nest very quickly, though they remain close to their parents for some time. They reach sexual maturity at 3 years old.

The main threats facing the blue-billed curassow are habitat loss and fragmentation. One major source of habitat loss is the widespread spraying of nonspecific herbicides by the Colombian government to combat illegal drug crops grown in the area. Other threats include hunting and wild collection.

Help this Species
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