Tuesday 11 August 2009.
With an estimated population of nearly 250 individuals and a large decline in habitat loss and hunting, the Blue-billed Curassow (Crax alberti) is considered one of the most endangered species of the Americas. Definitely the El Paujil Bird Reserve in Serranía de las Quinchas now represents the most important sites for their protection and conservation as almost their entire original rainforest habitat has been destroyed.
Since the beginning of the El Paujil Bird Reserve in 2003, Blue-billed Curassow observations were sporadic and rare and almost always of single individuals. Luis Gabriel Mosquera, who has studied and protected the Blue-billed Curassow since 2003 and is now the Director of the El Paujil Bird Reserve, noted a significant increase in sightings and of group sizes in just the past year. Recent observations by birders included groups of up to three males at the same time and recently photos confirmed, up to four females together!
Luis Gabriel also noted that the earliest colonists to the region commented that when they first settled the area of the reserve, they found large groups of Blue-billed Curassows, up to 30 individuals together!! Sadly, the same colonists hunted the species, almost exterminating it from the region. It may take many years for the Curassow to recover to its original population, but protection of El Paujil Bird Reserve in just the last five years has shown the importance of establishing and enforcing protected areas as well as working with local communities as the most important steps to saving the species.
One male and two female Blue-billed Curassows. Can you see the male?
ProAves remains committed to the protection of the Blue-billed Curassows across Colombia and likewise hope to achieve more significant progress in the conservation of this unique species and unique to Colombia.
Thanks to support from American Bird Conservancy and BirdLife International, especially Species Champion Ted Reissing.