Friday, 25 July 2014

Belém Curassow classified as Critically Endangered.

Birdlife International published an assessment of the conservation status of 350 newly described Bird Species for International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species on 24 July 2014, the first such assessment by the organization. 25% of the species described are considered to be threatened, compared to about 13% of all known bird species, though this is in part due to the discovery of cryptic species; populations of birds formerly thought to be part of more widespread species, that are now understood to be genetically distinct species, incapable of reproduction with the species of which they were thought to form a population. Such cryptic species have smaller populations and more restricted ranges than they were previously thought to have, and therefore are more likely to be threatened.

One such newly described species is the Belém Curassow (Crax pinima), a large Curassow (tropical and sub-tropical Birds from Central and South America, related to Pheasants) formerly thought to be a subspecies of the Bare-faced Curassow (Crax fasciolata), but reclessified in the 2014 edition of the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World.. Males of the Belem Currasow are black, while females are dark on top with paler undersides; both sexes have distinctive crests of long, curled feathers.

The Belém Curassow (Crax pinima), male. Fundação Oswaldo Cruz.

The Belém Curassow is thought to be native to the Brazilian states of Maranhão and Pará, but has not been seen in the wild since 1978, suggesting that any remaining wild populations must be very small. There are currently known to be five members of the species in captivity, four of which are female, though three of these, and two other Birds that have subsequently died, were seized from illegal traders in 2009, making it possible that a wild population of the Birds still exists.

The Belém Curassow naturally inhabits humid gallery forests, however the area to which it is native has  been extensively cleared by loggers and agribusinesses. A few tracts of preserved forest still exist in reserves, but even these have been extensively targeted by illegal loggers.

The original range of the Belém Curassow (Crax pinima). ICUN Red List of Threatened Species.

See also...


The International Union for the Conservation of Nature published its annual update of its Red List of Threatened Species on Thursday 12 June 2014, marking the 50th year of the list's existence, and revising...



The International Union for the Conservation of Nature published its annual update of its Red List of Threatened Species on Thursday 12 June 2014, marking the 50th year of the list's existence, and revising...



The International Union for the Conservation of Nature published its annual update of its Red List of Threatened Species on Thursday 12 June 2014, marking the 50th year of the list's existence, and revising...


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