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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 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.D., Ochoa, J., Olarte, L., Renjifo, L., Salaman, P., Williams, R.S.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., Wheatley, H.
Justification:
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.  Relatively recent records have been obtained from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the Serranía de San Jerónimo, the Serranía de San Lucas, the northeast of Antioquia, the north of the Cordillera Central and the Serranía de las Quinchas.  The largest number of recent records have come from the region of the northeast of Antioquia, the north of the Cordillera Central and the Serranía de las Quinchas (Stiles et al. 1999; Carillo et al. 2015).  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).  Records have been made in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in recent years, with important populations in the Buritaca, Guachaca and Frio river basins, as well as inside Tayrona National Park and its buffer zone (Strewe et al. 2010; Pineda-Guerrero et al. 2012).  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).  Records were 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).  Interviews with people in several villages in the buffer zone of Paramillo National Park found that the majority considered the species's population to have decreased (Cabarcas et al. 2008).  The species has been recorded at 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 evidence was found of the existence of populations on both sides of the Serranía (Salaman & Donegan 2001).  Local people have recorded steep declines in this population and few individuals are thought to remain at Serranía de San Lucas (Salaman & Donegan 2001; D. Caro in litt. 2009).  The species was last recorded in the Serranía de San Jacinto, Bolívar and at La Terretera near Alto Sinú in 1993 (R. S. R. Williams in litt. 1999; Carrillo et al. 2015).  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, Salaman & Donegan 2001; Cabarcas et al. 2008; D. Caro in litt. 2009; Caramillo et al. 2015).

Countries occurrence:
Native:
Colombia
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).

Systems:Terrestrial
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). 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 Serranía de San Jacinto 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). Establish and enforce a hunting prohibition (Urueña et al. 2006). Initiate educational campaigns to limit hunting, and provide resources to replace the need for habitat conversion (A. Cuervo in litt. 1999).

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.1. Captive breeding/artificial propagation
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.3. Sub-national level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.3. Sub-national level
6. Livelihood, economic & other incentives -> 6.1. Linked enterprises & livelihood alternatives

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:Yes
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Invasive species control or prevention:No
In-Place Species Management
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:Yes
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Rapid Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.2. Commercial & industrial areas
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Rapid Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing:Past, Unlikely to Return ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Rapid Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.3. Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Rapid Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

3. Energy production & mining -> 3.2. Mining & quarrying
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Rapid Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

4. Transportation & service corridors -> 4.1. Roads & railroads
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Whole (>90%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.3. Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Negligible declines  
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.3. Agricultural & forestry effluents -> 9.3.4. Type Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Past, Likely to Return ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology

Bibliography [top]

ARKive. 2013. Blue-billed curassow (Crax alberti). Website. (Accessed: 31/07/2013).

Cabarcas, D. M.; Laza, P.; Urueña, L. E. 2008. Evaluación y prioritización de amenazas del Paujil Piquiazul (Crax alberti) en el Cerro Murrurrucú, zona amortiguadora del PNN Paramillo, Colombia. Conservación Colombiana: 30-38.

Carrillo, L., Falla, A.C., Olaciregui, C., Cornejo, J. and Sierra, P. 2015. Taller de Análisis de la Viabilidad de Poblaciones y del Hábitat del Paujil Pico Azul. IUCN/SSC/Conservation Breeding Specialist Group.

Collar, N.J., Gonzaga, L.P., Krabbe, N., Madroño Nieto, A., Naranjo, L.G., Parker, T.A. and Wege, D.C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Cuervo, A.; Salaman, P. 1999. Specific threats to the two remaining refuges for Crax alberti.

Cuervo, A.; Salaman, P. 1999. Natural history of the Blue-billed Curassow (Crax alberti).: 7-10.

Dinerstein, E.; Olson, D. M.; Graham, D. J.; Webster, A. L.; Primm, S. A.; Bookbinder, M. P.; Ledec, G. 1995. A conservation assesssment of the terrestrial ecoregions of Latin America and the Caribbean. World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Fundación ProAves. 2011. Protecting one of the last viable populations of the Critically Endangered Blue-billed Curassow in Colombia. Fundación ProAves and BirdLife International.

Hirschfeld, E. 2008. Rare Birds Yearbook 2009: the world's 190 most threatened birds. MagDig Media Ltd., Shrewsbury, UK.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 07 December 2016).

IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-3. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org.

Machado, E.; Salaman, P. 2008/09. Columbia's most threatened cracid? World Pheasant Association News: 5.

Mayorquín, A. 2010. Primera fase del Plan de Acción para la conservación de las especies de Psitácidos y formulación de la Estrategia de Conservación del Paujil de Pico Azul (Crax alberti) en Córdoba. Informe Final. In: . Corporación Autónoma Regional de los Valles del Sinú y del San Jorge, CVS – Fundación ProAves (ed.).

Mendoza, I. M.; Ochoa D. M.; Borja, R. A.; Guttierez, T. D. 2008. Algunas características de la población y hábitat de Crax alberti en el Eco-parque Los Besotes, Valledupar – Cesar . Bulletin of Cracid Specialist Group 29: 17-28.

Pineda-Guerrero, A., Jiménez-Alvarado, S., González-Maya, J. F., Zárate-Charry, D. and Olarte-González, G. 2012. Nuevos registros del Paujil Pico Azul (Crax alberti) en el Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona, Colombia. In: G. M. Kattan, A. Echeverry Galvis & M. López-Victoria (ed.), Libro de resúmenes del IV Congreso Colombiano de Ornitología, pp. 95. Sello Editorial Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.

Quevedo, A.; Salaman, P.; Donegan, T. 2005. A new bird reserve in the Magdalena Valley of Colombia for the blue-billed curassow. World Pheasant Association News 74: 9-10.

Quevedo, A.; Salaman, P.; Donegan, T. 2006. Serrania de las Quinchas: establishment of a first protected area in the Magdalena Valley of Colombia. Cotinga 25: 25-32.

Quevedo, A., Urueña, L. E., Machado, E. M., Arias, H. D., Medina, E. M., Castañeda, Z., Moreno, M. C., Rodríguez, E. L., Cabarcas, D. M., Laza, P., Melo, I., Alvarado, H. D., Ochoa, J. M., Salaman, P., Donegan, T., Avendaño, J. & González, J. D. 2008. Proyecto Salvando al Paujil Piquiazul. Conservación Colombiana 4 : 7-15.

Salaman, P. and Donegan, T. 2001. Colombian EBA project report no. 3: Serranía de San Lucas. Fundación ProAves.

Stiles, F. G.; Rosselli, L.; Bohórquez, C. I. 1999. New and noteworthy records of birds from the middle Magdalena valley of Colombia. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 119: 113-129.

Strahl, S.; Ellis, S.; Byers, O.; Plasse, C. 1994. Conservation assessment and management plan for Neotropical guans, curassows, and chachalacas. International Union for Nature Conservation and Natural Resources, Apple Valley, USA.

Strewe, R.; Lobaton, G.; Villa-De León, C. 2010. Evaluación del estado poblacional de Crax alberti en la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Departmento del Magdalena, Colombia. Bulletin of the Cracid Specialist Group 30: 5-17.

Urueña, L. E. 2008. Aspectos generales de la dieta del Paujil Piquiazul (Crax alberti) en la Reserva Natural de las Aves el Paujil, en la Serranía de las Quinchas. Conservación Colombiana: 60-64.

Urueña, L. E. 2008. Aspectos generales del comportamiento del Paujil Piquiazul (Crax alberti) en la Reserva Natural de las Aves el Paujil, Serranía de las Quinchas, Colombia. Conservación Colombiana: 65-72.

Urueña, L. E., Gil, A. Q., Salaman, P., Arias, H. D. and Machado, E. M. 2006. Blue-billed Curassow (Crax alberti). In: D. M. Brooks (ed.), Conserving Cracids: The most Threatened Family of Birds in the Americas, Misc. Publ. Houston Mus. Nat. Sci., Houston, TX.

Urueña, L. E.; Quevedo, A.; Machado, E.; Baena, O.; Alvarado, H.; Borras, A.; Santos, C.; Aldana, A.; Beltran, M.; Torres, J.; Link, A.; Morales, A.; Luna, G. de; Ramirez, S.; Lopez, M. undated. Saving the Blue-billed Curassow: building a secure future. Final report 2006-2007.

Urueña, L. E.; Toro, J. L. 2008. Plan de acción 2005-2010 para la conservación del Paujil Piquiazul (Crax alberti). Conservación Colombiana: 16-20.


Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Crax alberti. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22678525A117237270. . Downloaded on 21 November 2017.
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