Mitu mitu 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Galliformes Cracidae

Scientific Name: Mitu mitu (Linnaeus, 1766)
Common Name(s):
English Alagoas Curassow
Spanish Paují de Alagoas, Paují Menor
Crax mitu ssp. mitu (Linnaeus, 1766) — BirdLife International (2004)
Crax mitu ssp. mitu (Linnaeus, 1766) — Stotz et al. (1996)
Taxonomic Source(s): SACC. 2005 and updates. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Identification information: 83-89 cm. Large cracid with casque-like bill. All black plumage, glossed purplish-blue, except chestnut at base of tibia, vent and undertail-coverts, and narrowly brown-tipped tail. Slightly swollen red bill with whitish tip, red legs and toes and reddish-brown iris. Small crescent of bare greyish-white skin on rear ear-coverts. Similar spp. Only genus member with bare skin on ear-coverts. Congenerics have white tips to tail. Most closely resembles Razor-billed Curassow M. tuberosa, but bill not as massive and is two-toned. Voice Apparently undescribed, but males apparently share booming calls of congenerics (L. F. Silveira in litt. 2012).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Extinct in the Wild ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Silveira, L.F.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Sharpe, C.J., Symes, A., Martin, R
The last (unconfirmed) sighting of this species was in the late 1980s and it is now Extinct in the Wild. There are two captive populations and, an apparently suitable forest remnant has been identified for future reintroduction efforts.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Mitu mitu has been almost certainly extirpated from Alagoas and Pernambuco, north-east Brazil. A report from north Bahia is unreliable. It went unreported between the mid-17th century, when found in Pernambuco, and 1951, when rediscovered around São Miguel dos Campos, Alagoas. Since the early 1970s, there are records from four forests in this region. Numbers were probably as few as 20, even in the 1960s (del Hoyo 1994). The most recent reports were of hunted individuals in 1984 and perhaps 1987 or 1988. 

Countries occurrence:
Regionally extinct:
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):300
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:A captive population, initially established in Rio de Janeiro in 1977, numbered 44 in 2000. There were 130 birds in two aviaries in 2008, some 35% of which are hybrids with M. tuberosum.
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It was apparently confined to lowland primary forest, where it was known to take fruit of Phyllanthus, Eugenia and "mangabeira". It lays two or three eggs in captivity, with one female breeding for the first time when she was two years old (del Hoyo 1994).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):12.5
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The extinction of this species was forecast almost as long ago as its discovery. Ceaseless clearance of its lowland forests, chiefly for sugarcane, and poaching have brought it to the verge of extinction. Sugarcane demand increased dramatically in the late 1970s, owing to a government programme to increase fuel alcohol production, hastening the destruction of remaining habitat. Pesticide-use in cane fields surrounding extant forest may also have had a detrimental effect. The last remaining area of reasonably extensive lowland forest in the region was virtually entirely cleared within six months in the late 1980s, while continued hunting served only to exacerbate the species's decline.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I and protected under Brazilian law. A private captive population, supplemented from the wild, was established in 1977, and divided between two well known aviculturists in 1999 when it numbered 44, with 10 eggs in artificial incubation (Atualidades Ornitológicas 93: 11). A 30 km2 forest remnant in Alagoas, Usina Serra Grande and Usina Leão and another site, Fazenda Petropolis, in Usina Santo Antonio have been identified for potential reintroduction attempts (Atualidades Ornitológicas 93: 11Grau et al. 2003). Other efforts, in 1983-1985, to capture wild individuals for a captive-breeding population failed. Searches of remaining forest fragments in 2001 failed to find any trace of the species (Silveira et al. 2003). The genetic composition of the captive population has been studied by Mercival Francisco and a studbook created (L. F. Silveira in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue and further develop the current captive-breeding programme in order to reintroduce the species (Collar and Butchar, 2013). Ensure the integrity of forest at Usina Serra Grande and Usina Leão. Engender pride in the species to lower the risk of hunting once reintroduction is begun.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Mitu mitu. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22678486A92775865. . Downloaded on 17 August 2018.
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