Northern Helmeted Currasow


Scientific Name: Pauxi pauxi pauxi

IUCN Status: Endangered

Quick Fact: The helmeted currasow lives in cloud forests and its habitat is destroyed for both cattle ranching and narcotics cultivation

Learn More: visit BirdLife International for more information on helmeted currasows

Their diet consists of primarily fruit and greens in the wild. Their captive diet consists of various chopped fruits, greens, seeds and grains. Northern Helmeted Curassows are a very striking bird in appearance; they have a distinctive large, fig-shaped, pale slate-blue casque on their head. Their feathers are primarily a sooty blue-black color with white tips on the tail feathers and a white abdomen. Males and females are very similar in appearance. The female’s casque is slightly smaller than the male’s. Except when roosting, nesting, or when the male is singing, the Northern Helmeted curassow is usually found on the ground or in low trees. It moves quite slowly through the underbrush and is a very elusive bird. It stays clear of roads and clearings. Northern Helmeted curassows prefer the twilight hours and humid gorges with thick undergrowth of dwarf palms and terrestrial aroids forming their principal habitat.The Northern Helmeted Curassow’s range includes the mountains of central and coastal Venezuela from central Miranda and southeastern Falcon west to the boundary with Columbia, as well as extreme northeastern Colombia. Their habitat consists of rain or cloud forests in the subtropical zone and adjacent edges of the tropical and temperate zones. With their center of distribution at about 3200 to 4700 ft., Northern Helmeted curassows are more cold hardy than other curassows. They are about the size of a wild turkey, curassows weigh approximately 7 – 8 lbs (3.5kg).

Like other curassows, the Northern Helmeted curassow tends to be monogamous but egg incubation is done by the female alone. Normally, two large, thick-shelled eggs are laid and incubation is approximately 29-32 days. The chicks, like other curassow young, are able to move about as soon as they dry off from hatching. There is evidence that the male of the pair may help to raise the chicks once they are hatched.