Razor-billed Curassows are still reasonably common thanks to their large range. However, the remainder of their curassow relatives are not faring as well. In fact, of the 16 curassow species currently recognised, one is ‘Extinct in the Wild’, four other species are ‘Critically Endangered’, three are ‘Endangered’, three are ‘Vulnerable’ and two are ‘Near Threatened’.
Many curassow species have a tiny distribution and are restricted to particular elevations, leaving them very vulnerable to threats from habitat loss, agriculture, logging and forest degradation. Roads and rural building works impact greatly on many species as it reduces their habitat and hinders their distribution.
Hunting has been a large threat to most curassow species. Some, such as the Endangered Helmeted Curassow Pauxi pauxi, are hunted for food and for trophies – their heads are cut and kept for their impressively large crown and beak. Such threats have already pushed the Alagoas Curassow Mitu mitu to extinction in the wild. Two small captive populations are the only hope for this species’ survival.
Distribution: Amazonian rainforest areas of South America
Conservation status: Least Concern
Evolutionary distinctiveness: Low