SAVING THE BLUE-BILLED CURASSOW

The blue-billed curassow is the world’s most threatened species of cracid, a family of beautiful crested game birds found primarily in Latin America. This large, mainly black bird is the only curassow with distinctive blue bill ornaments, earning the species its common name. Very little is known about this bird in the wild due to its rarity; while at one time its range stretched 106,700 square kilometers, it’s now restricted to only a fragmented 2,090-square-kilometer forest area in northern Colombia. The blue-billed curassow has been severely harmed by a rapid increase in deforestation over the past decade due to agriculture and other habitat-destroying industries. About 98 to 99 percent of this amazing bird’s habitat has been lost.

In 1991, the International Council for Bird Preservation petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the blue-billed curassow under the Endangered Species Act. Finally, after 23 years and extensive Center legal involvement, in 2013 the Service listed the blue-billed curassow as endangered.