Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Helmeted Curassow

Pauxi pauxi

The helmeted currassow gets its name from the large, bluish-gray casque on its forehead. Helmeted curassows have dark plumage with a blue-green gloss across their back and breast, as well as a white belly and white tips to their tail feathers. It has a small head with a red bill and red legs.

Range & Habitat

Venezuela and Colombia; Subtropical cloud forests in steep mountainous regions; prefers areas of thick undergrowth.

Conservation Status: Endangered

Listed as endangered as of 2016 on IUCN due to its limited range, destruction of its habitat and hunting.


In the wild - Seeds, fruits, leaves, insects and on occasion small animals such as mice and frogs.

At the Zoo -   Various chopped fruits, greens, seeds and grains.

Life Span

In the wild: 13.5 years
In human care: 20 years+

Fun Facts about the Helmeted Curassow

  •   They are about the size of a wild turkey; curassows weigh approximately 7 – 8 lbs.

    •  They are terrestrial, nearlhy always staying on the ground and only flying to trees to nest or roost for the night.

    •  Like domestic chickens, these birds often eat small stones to help with digestion.

    •  The call of the curassow is a prolonged, low-pitch grunting or groaning sound.

  •  When frightened or alarmed they jump or fly straight up in an attempt to get away.During breeding season, males gather a piece of food in their beak and then offer it to the female. If she accepts the food, it means she accepts that male as her mate.


White Oak Conservation. (2021). Northern Helmeted Curassow. Information retrieved December 2021.

Lincoln Park Zoo. (n.d.) Helmeted Curassow. Information retrieved December 2021.

The Dallas World Aquarium. (2021). Northern Helmeted Curassow. Information retrieved December 2021.

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. (2021). Helmeted Curassow. Information retrieved December 2021.

International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. (2016). Helmeted Curassow. Information retrieved December 2021.

Updated June 13, 2023
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