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Northern helmeted curassow

Pauxi pauxi

Description: The Northern helmeted currassow gets its name from the large, bluish-gray, fig- shaped casque on its forehead. This curassow’s plumage is mostly black with a greenish-blue hue. The abdomen, tips of the tail feathers and the small feathers of the under-tail are white. It has a small head with a red bill. The legs are also red.

Size: Adult length ranges from 31.4-39 inches (80- 100 cm) with males being larger than females.

Behavior: These terrestrial birds usually stay in pairs or small family groups, however, occasionally they may be seen singly. They spend most of the day foraging for food on the forest floor and at night, roost in trees. When frightened or alarmed they jump or fly straight up in an attempt to get away. During breeding season, males have a unique courtship ritual that they perform. He gathers a piece of food in his beak and then offers it to the female. If she accepts the food, it means she accepts him as well.

Diet: Their diet consists mainly of seeds, fruits, leaves, insects and on occasion small animals such as mice and frogs.

Communication: The call of the Northern helmeted curassow is a prolonged, low-pitch grunting or groaning sound.

Reproduction: Like other curassow species, they tend to be monogamous once a union is made. The female lays two large cream-colored eggs that she incubates for approximately 30 days. Once hatched, the chicks are fed by eating from their parents beaks until they learn to eat from the ground. Parents are very protective of their chicks.

Habitat/range: They are mainly confined to subtropical cloud-forests in steep mountainous regions in Venezuela and Colombia.

Status: Listed as Endangered on IUCN; CITES, Appendix III due to its limited range, destruction of its habitat and hunting.