Crax alberti 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Galliformes Cracidae

Scientific Name: Crax alberti
Species Authority: Fraser, 1852
Common Name(s):
English Blue-billed Curassow, Blue-knobbed Curassow
Spanish Pavón Piquiazul
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Identification information: 83-93 cm. Large, mainly black, terrestrial cracid. Male black with white vent and tip to tail. Horn-coloured bill with fleshy blue cere and hanging wattle. Curled, black crest feathers. Pinkish legs. Female black with black-and-white crest feathers. Fine white barring on wings and tail (in barred morph also on breast and belly). Rufous lower belly and undertail. Bluish base to bill. Similar spp. Only curassow with blue bill-ornaments. Voice Low booming.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A3bcd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Cuervo, A., Dávalos, L., González, J., Ochoa, J., Olarte, L., Renjifo, L., Salaman, P., Williams, R. & Olaciregui , C.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Bird, J., Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Isherwood, I., Keane, A., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.
The rate of deforestation in this species's range has been very rapid over the past decade, such that little habitat remains. It is projected that it could undergo an extremely rapid population reduction given increased access and hunting, and therefore qualifies as Critically Endangered.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species historically occurred in northern Colombia, from the base of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta west to the Sinú valley and south in the Magdalena valley to northern Tolima. Two of the few large lowland forest areas remaining in its range have produced relatively recent records: two sites on the west slope of the Serranía de San Lucas, Antioquia (Cuervo and Salaman 1999, A. Cuervo in litt. 1999, L. Dávalos in litt. 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000) and the Serranía de las Quinchas, Boyacá (Stiles et al. 1999). Few individuals are thought to remain at Serranía de San Lucas (D. Caro in litt. 2009), and surveys conducted in 2003 suggest that the latter area holds the population stronghold of this species which contributed to the establishment of El Paujíl Bird Reserve (Quevedo et al. 2005). Numbers within this reserve have increased and the density of individuals has increased from 2.1 individuals/km2 to 4.7 individuals/km2 in 2009 (D. Caro in litt. 2009) but remains far below the projected carrying capacity of 1 in 10 acres. Anecdotal observations in 2009 are also indicative of a continued localised increase (Fundación ProAves 2009). Additional records have been made in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in recent years where the species has been confirmed at 17 sites (Strewe et al. 2010), and a density of 1.1 individuals/km2 was found in the Besotes Eco-Park, on the southeastern slope, in 2006-2007 (Mendoza et al. 2008). In 1993, sightings were reported at La Terretera near Alto Sinú and in the Serranía de San Jacinto, Bolívar (R. S. R. Williams in litt. 1999). Records were also obtained in 2009 from the northern end of the Western Cordillera on the Serranía de San Jerónimo, within the buffer zone of the Paramillo National Park (Mayorquin 2010). The population in the El Paujíl Bird Reserve was estimated at 254 individuals in 2009, and based on the same density estimate the population in the surrounding area (including the reserve) is thought to be 509 individuals (D. Caro in litt. 2009). Local reports indicate that there has been a recent and rapid decline throughout its range (Cuervo and Salaman 1999, A. Cuervo in litt. 1999, L. Dávalos in litt. 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000, D. Caro in litt. 2009).

Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:71100
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:2-5Continuing decline in number of locations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):1200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population in the El Paujíl Bird Reserve was estimated a maximum of 254 individuals in 2009, whilst surrounding area (including the reserve) may hold up to 509 individuals. There are several populations elsewhere, but these are thought to be severely declining or already locally extinct (D. Caro in litt. 2010), hence a populations band of 250-999 individuals is appropriate. This equates to 167-666 mature individuals, rounded here to 150-700 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  This species has declined dramatically owing to habitat loss and hunting pressure. Given that protection is inadequate throughout the majority of its restricted range (even within protected areas) very rapid declines are suspected to be ongoing.

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:150-700Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:Yes
No. of subpopulations:2-100Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It inhabits humid forest up to 1,200 m, but there is at least one record from tropical dry forest (Strewe et al. 2010). It breeds in the dry season, nesting in December-March, with parties of adults and chicks observed in March-August (Cuervo and Salaman 1999, A. Cuervo in litt. 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000). Two breeding seasons have been recorded in the El Paujíl Bird Reserve, one from December to March and another from July to September (Urueña 2008b). It feeds on fruit, shoots, invertebrates, and perhaps even carrion (Cuervo and Salaman 1999, Quevedo et al. 2005, A. Cuervo in litt. 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000). One recent survey recorded the consumption of seeds from a total of 15 different plant species. A terrestrial crab was also consumed. The species forages directly on the forest floor, and has never been observed foraging in a tree (Urueña 2008a). Roost sites, situated in foliage in trees, are near feeding areas and are used for several days (Hirschfeld 2008).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):11.5
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species may be tolerant of low levels of habitat degradation (Strewe et al. 2010); however, its range is affected by outright habitat loss and severe degradation. Vast areas of forest have been cleared since the 17th century, and are used for livestock-farming, arable cultivation, cotton and illegal drug plantations, oil extraction and mining (Dinerstein et al. 1995, Cuervo and Salaman 1999, Stiles et al. 1999, Strewe et al. 2010, L. G. Olarte in litt. 1993, L. M. Renjifo in litt. 1993, A. Cuervo in litt. 1999, L. Dávalos in litt. 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000, J. D. González in litt. 2005, J. M. Ochoa in litt. 2005). Deforestation outside of the El Paujíl Bird Reserve is accelerating at an annual rate of 2.1-7%; Machado and Salaman 2008/2009). Cultivation (notably of coffee), logging and marijuana-plantation expansion and subsequent government spraying with non-specific herbicides affect the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Dinerstein et al. 1995, Strewe et al. 2010, L. G. Olarte in litt. 1993, L. M. Renjifo in litt. 1993). Colonisation and deforestation for coca farming are the principal threats acting around the El Paujíl Bird Reserve (Quevedo et al. 2005). In 1996, there was a gold rush in the Serranía de San Lucas and most of the eastern slopes have since been settled, logged and converted to agriculture and coca production (A. Cuervo in litt. 1999, L. Dávalos in litt. 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000). Few individuals are thought to remain in this area due to hunting (D. Caro in litt. 2009). Hunting and egg-collecting for food have contributed to past and present declines, and a recent survey of villages surrounding the Paramillo National Park suggests these activities will continue into the future unless the economic situation of the villagers improves (Cabarcas et al. 2008, A. Cuervo in litt. 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000). The species is also threatened by infrastructure development, as exemplified by the Santa Marta-Riohacha Highway, which acts as a barrier between populations in Tayrona National Park and the foothills of the Sierra Marta de Santa Marta (Strewe et al. 2010).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
El Paujíl Bird Reserve was established in 2004, covering 848 ha in the Magdelena Valley, Serranía de las Quinchas, and local authorities have introduced penalties for shooting or trapping the species (R. S. R. Williams in litt. 1999). Fundación ProAves continue to purchase land to expand the reserve and are also engaging in habitat restoration within its boundaries (D. Caro in litt. 2009). ProAves aims to expand the reserve to c.6,000 ha in the next two years (Machado and Salaman 2008/2009). Paramillo National Park is vast and holds this species, but no protective measures have been implemented (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000). The large Bajo Cauca-Nechí Regional Reserve probably holds the species (A. Cuervo in litt. 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000). Los Colorados Sanctuary protects part of the Serranía de San Jacinto (R. S. R. Williams in litt. 1999). It occurs in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and Tayrona National Parks (Fundación ProAves 2009), and potentially in the Cañon del Río Alicante and Los Besotes reserves (Quevedo et al. 2006). Of all of the reserves listed above, only El Paujíl Bird Reserve is thought to receive adequate protection to safeguard this species (Quevedo et al. 2006). Since 2006, ProAves has been engaged in a variety of awareness-raising initiatives in three villages within the Serranía de las Quinchas buffer zone, including training courses on bird monitoring and for park rangers and the annual Paujil Festival (Urueña et al. undated, Quevedo et al. 2008). Studies of population density and structure, as well as habitat use and behaviour of the species have been ongoing at the El Paujíl Bird Reserve since 2004 (Urueña et al. undated). Further surveys are planned in the south-western limits of the species's range in order to delimit additional IBAs for its conservation. Fundación ALPEC is working to create a habitat corridor to connect protected areas in the lowlands to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta through a network of private reserves (Strewe et al. 2010). A reintroduction programme was initiated in 2011 with the intention that when captive breeding is successful individuals will be reintroduced (Fundacion ProAves 2011).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Determine its population and distribution more accurately and confirm its persistence in the serranías de San Jacinto and de las Quinchas, and the upper Sinú drainage (Cuervo and Salaman 1999, Stiles et al. 1999, A. Cuervo in litt. 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000. Protect forests on the serranías de San Lucas and de las Quinchas (Stiles et al. 1999, A. Cuervo in litt. 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000). Implement effective conservation measures in existing protected areas (L. Dávalos in litt. 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000). Initiate educational campaigns to limit hunting, and provide resources to replace the need for habitat conversion (A. Cuervo in litt. 1999).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Crax alberti. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22678525A92776731. . Downloaded on 19 August 2017.
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