Great Curassow


In the Zoo

Scientific Information

Scientific Name: Crax rubra
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Cracidae
Genus: Crax




Height: 36 inches 36 inches
Length: 31-39 inches 31-39 inches
Weight: 6.8 -10.6 pounds 36 inches
Maturity: 2-3 years 2-3 years

Lifestyle and Lifespan

Diet: Omnivorous
Activity Timeframe: Crepuscular
Interactivity: Social
Sexual Dimorphism: Yes
Gestation: 30-32 days
Lifespan in the Wild: 24 years
Lifespan in Captivity: 24 years

Geographic Range

Range extends from southern Mexico to western Ecuador. Primarily found in national parks and reserves.


Status in the Wild: Vulnerable
Threats: Habitat Loss


A large bird with forward curling feathers on their heads, and long tails. The base of the Great Curassow's bill is yellow with a round bulge. The coloring of the female varies; they can be black or chesnut-colored with black or white bars and their heads and crest may be striped with black and white. The males are a lustrous blue or black and have white bellies.

Species Specifics

Curassows belong to the Cracidae family alongside the guans and chachalacas, and are the largest members of this group. The cracids are important seed dispersers in the Neotropical forests where the family is found. The Great Curassow is the largest cracid and reach lengths of up to one metre from beak to tail!

Physical Characteristics

Curassows are a very sturdy build bird. They have long legs for running and scratching the ground. Their sturdy beak is also a very important adaptation for their foraging behavior.



Forest in lowland mountain regions



The curassow finds its food by foraging on fallen fruits, berries and seeds. They are predominately frugivores. Additionally they may scrape the ground in search of insects or small animals.

Ecological Web

Curassows play an important role as seed dispersers!

Activity and Behavior

Activity Pattern

Curassows spend much of their time stalking about the forest floor in search of fallen fruits. They scratch the ground much like chickens, and will eat large insects or small animals. When threatened they will run rather than fly, but will use flight to seek shelter in the trees. Low branches are also their go to for roosting.


- The male curassow will utter a high-pitched whining whistle when there are signs of danger. At other times, a group of curassows communicate by low-pitched grunting sounds.

Social Behavior

Curassows are monogamous and travel in pairs or in small groups. The male curassow leads his family, and whistles when there are signs of danger. The group also communicates by grunting.

Reproductive Behavior

Females lay two eggs between March and May.


2 to 4 eggs



Listed as Vulnerable by IUCN, and listed on Appendix II of CITES.


Current Threats

Habitat Loss

Our Role

How You Can Help

Fascinating Facts


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