The Great Curassow (Crax rubra)
Known locally as the Faisan, the great curassow is a pheasant-like bird native to the Neotropical rainforests. Males are black with curly crests and yellow beaks, while females come in three color morphs: barred, rufous, and black. These birds forage in small groups on the ground for fruits and arthropods, as well as the occasional small vertebrate, but they roost and nest in trees. This species is monogamous, with the male often constructing the little nest of leaves in which two eggs are placed. Males are somewhat smaller than females. It is the most huge and heaviest species in the family, yet only a few other cracids can match its length. (The Cracidae family includes the chachalacas, guans, and curassows.) The male great curassow may construct the nest and draw the female's attention to it, but in other circumstances, both members of a couple will construct the nest building. The great curassow spends much of its time on the ground, but nests and roosts in trees. This species is gregarious, appearing in groups of up to a dozen birds, however, individuals can be spotted alone on occasion. As previously stated, its food consists primarily of fruits, figs, and arthropods. Small vertebrates, particularly small mammals, may complement the diet on occasion (such as rodents). Unlike other cracids, such as guans, they mostly eat fallen fruit rather than plucking fruit from trees. Because of habitat degradation and overhunting, these large birds are listed as "Vulnerable.
The male is black with curly crest, a while belly, and a yellow knob on its bill.
Great Curassows are up to 39 inches in length and weigh a bit over 10 pounds. They forage mainly on the ground for fruits, snails, lizards, but roost and nest in the trees. This secretive bird species feeds mostly on fruits and small invertebrates and vertebrates. It can be seen foraging on the forest floor and feeding in the canopies as well. They are classified as Vulnerable; they are threatened by loss of habitat and hunting. The three protected areas managed by Ya’axché and other healthy forested areas in Belize are critical for the survival of these magnificent birds.
Deadly for dogs if eaten cooked. horrible death.
Female Great Curassows can weigh almost 10 pounds while males over 10 pounds in weight. These large birds are classified as “Vulnerable” due to habitat loss and overhunting.
The presence or absence of these birds, along with other wildlife indicators, indicate to Ya’axché whether forested areas are healthy or disturbed – since they prefer their space.
Photograph by Tony Rath
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