Bird of the Week, January 25, 2013,
Blue-billed Curassow


Blue-billed Curassow by ProAves


The Blue-billed Curassow is a large, ground-dwelling bird closely related to turkeys and guans. The male is glossy black with a curly black crest, white undertail and tail tip, and pinkish-white legs. Its bill is decorated with a fleshy blue cere (a waxy structure covering the base of the bill) and wattle. The female is also black, with black-and-white crest feathers and white barring on wings and tail, plus a rufous lower belly and undertail.


This bird forages on the forest floor for fruit, seeds, and small invertebrates. It roosts in trees for protection; these roost sites are near feeding areas and are often used for several days running.


Blue-billed Curassow populations have declined dramatically due to to habitat loss. Huge areas of its lowland forest range have been cleared for livestock farming, crop cultivation, oil extraction, and mining. Another significant threat comes from local people, who hunt these birds and take their eggs for food.


In 2004, ABC and Colombian partner Fundación ProAves established the El Paujíl Reserve to protect this species. El Paujíl now protects over 14,830 acres of lowland forest in the Magdalena Valley, and has been recognized by Alliance for Zero Extinction as the place where the overwhelming majority of Blue-billed Curassow are now found. ABC and ProAves continue habitat protection and restoration here, as well as educational outreach, job-training programs for local women, and tourism.




Photo: Fundación ProAves; Range Map, NatureServe