Great Curassow

Tropical Rainforest

Location

In the Zoo
Size
Male
Female
Height:
36 inches
36 inches
Length:
Weight
6.8 -10.6 pounds
6.8 -10.6 pounds
Maturity:
2-3 years
2-3 years

Geographic Range

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

Scientific Information

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

Lifestyle and Lifespan

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

Conservation

Status:
Vulnerable
Threats:
Habitat Loss

Characteristics

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.

Ecology

Habitat

Forest in lowland mountain regions

Distribution

Habitats: Found mostly in the Eastern United States, Box Turtles occur as far north as Michigan and Maine, South to Florida, and as far West as Texas and Kansas. Found rarely above 1,000 feet in elevation, preferring low land habitats where water collects. Commonly associated with deciduous forests having high leaf litter and moisture these turtles are often located near rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and other bodies of fresh water, however, they are not good swimmers.

Diet

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.

Behavior

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.

Offspring

2 to 4 eggs

Conservation

Status

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

Historical

Due to a widespread, consistent and persistent decline of the species, the ICUN considers the Box Turtle to be a Vulnerable Species. The decline is associated with anthropogenic causes, or manmade causes centering on urbanization. Agricultural use of pesticides within a shared water shed has negatively impacted young turtle survivability due to malformed eggs. Introduction of synanthopic predator species, (species who live near and benefit mutually from human settlement and urban habitats) such as ravens, coyotes and raccoons, are increasing in numbers as humans continue to urbanize.

Current Threats

Habitat Loss

Our Role

No items found.

How You Can Help

Please be aware of the pets you choose to buy. Never get a pet that has been taken from the wild and never return a pet to the wild. Be aware of pesticide applications so as to not poison native animals that benefit your ecosystem. Finally, be conscious of your trash and waste so as to not attract unwanted animals such as ravens.

Fascinating Facts

It can climb vertical crevices in the rocks using the technique mountaineers call "chimney climbing"; the carapace is pressed against one wall and the feet against the other and the tortoise can wriggle upwards.

The Iriquois and other Native Americans used them for food, medical, ceremonial, burial and hunting purposes.

Of all the Gerrhosaururidae lizards (Plated lizards) they are the most armored.

References