Heinz Plenge Pardo

Wattled Curassow

Crax globulosa

Location: Lowlands of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, and Bolivia.

Endemic: -.

Characteristics

Males are black, with white vent and a curly feather crest. Their bills are black with a red or yellow cere, bill knob and hanging wattle. Females are mostly black with a rufous vent, a black bill and reddish cere.

Length: 82-89 cm (32-35 in).

Threat: Endangered.

Best Time for observation: November.

Habitat: One of the best places to see this bird in Peru is on the Muyuna river at the edge of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve on the south bank of the Amazon river.

The Mythical Wattled Curassow

The Wattled Curassow is a large species of Cracid that occurs in the lowlands of Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Peru and Bolivia. Despite its large range, the existence of the Wattled Curassow has been considered borderline between reality and myth. Hunted to near extinction, the birds are now very rare and local, and are very shy where they persist in the seasonally flooded varzea forests. Considered endangered there are estimated to be less than 300 birds remaining in Peru. Males are black, with white vent and a curly feather crest. Their bills are black with a red or yellow cere, bill knob and hanging wattle. Females are mostly black with a rufous vent with black bill and reddish cere. Their rarity, difficulty of finding them and looks combine to make them a great prize for any birder.

One of the best places to see this bird in Peru is on the Muyuna river at the edge of the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve on the south bank of the Amazon river. Just over three hours by boat from Iquitos, a lodge provides accommodation and works with the local community to protect them. The well-trained local guides know where to find the currasow. November is a good time as it coincides with their breeding season. As well as the currasow the area offers great birding with a range of habitats including lakes, river islands and terre firme forest. Avian highlights include Rufous-necked Puffbird and Blue-cheeked Jacamar, two species that are hard to find elsewhere in Peru. A trip here can easily be combined with a visit to the white-sand forests of the Allpahuayo-Mishana Reserve as well as the Explorama lodges located on the northern bank of the Amazon river.

Text by Pepe Rojas.