Endangered Red-Billed Curassow Chicks Hatch


The Chester Zoo

After carefully being incubated for 30 days, two red-billed curassow chicks hatched at the Chester Zoo.


Keepers at the Chester Zoo found the eggs alone and that their parents weren’t caring for them. They carefully put the eggs into an incubator and after about 30 days, the chicks hatched. 


“When we saw that the parents had produced eggs we were overjoyed, but we quickly noticed that the female wasn’t sitting on them and, with the birds being so rare, we just couldn’t take any chances,” said Andrew Owen, a curator of birds at The Chester Zoo.


The eggs hatching is the first step to prevent the extinction of their species. “Conservationists say the two new arrivals will play a vital role in a global conservation-breeding program that is working to prevent the extinction of the species,” said chesterzoo.org.


The birds are very rare and the species is on the brink of extinction due to deforestation, global pollution, and being hunted. Red-billed curassows naturally live in the Atlantic rainforest in Brazil and have been restricted to isolated areas within the rainforest.


They spend most of their time on the forest floor making themselves easy prey for other animals. According to the IUCN Red List, there are only 130-170 mature individuals left, and they are rapidly decreasing in number. 


“That’s why in their native Brazil they’ve been hunted for meat by local people and feral dogs. They, like many other bird species, are declining due to habitat loss, forest fragmentation, and deforestation.” Owen continued. 


Mature red-billed curassow are mostly black with a white underside, and a male has a bright red wattle at the base of the bill. Chicks have mostly brown and grey body but when they grow their wings get darker. 


According to the World Land Trust, “The Red-billed Curassow has glossy black feathers, with a white vent and curly crest. Males are distinguished by a conspicuous reddish-orange knob wattle around the bill. Females have a cinnamon-rufous vent, and shorter black crest; they are barred with white and their bills lack the red wattles of the male.”