The Wattled Curassow (Crax globulosa) is a threatened member of the Cracidae family, the curassows, guans, and chachalacas. It is found in remote humid forests in the western Amazon Basin in South America.
Description and systematics
Closeup of head and neck of a male. In addition to the larger wattle, the male has a white crissum.
The Wattled Curassow is 82-89 cm (c.32-35 inches) long, and weighs up to 2,500 grams.
It is the most ancient lineage of the southern Crax curassows. Its origins date back some 6-5.5 mya ago (Messinian, Late Miocene) when its ancestors became isolated in western Amazonia. Although a close relationship to the Red-billed Curassow (Crax blumenbachii) has been proposed, the Wattled Curassow seems to be a quite basal lineage without particularly close relatives. The similarity with the Red-billed Curassow seems to be mostly due to the fact that these are the most ancient species of their lineage, retaining more common plesiomorphies.
From captivity, hybrids with the quite distinct Blue-billed Curassow (Crax alberti) are known.
Range and ecology
Captive bird grooming itself
Its range is in the western and southwestern Amazon Basin, essentially delimited by the Caquetá-Japurá, Solimões, Amazon and Madeira Rivers, and the 300 meter contour line towards the Andes.
Most of the northern limit of its range is the Amazon River proper, and the northern river strip. In northern Peru where the Marañón River becomes the Amazon, the range continues upstream into Amazonian eastern Ecuador, the Caquetá-Japurá. The Marañón-Amazon is also the extreme southern border of Colombia, but it also occurs upstream in another region of the Colombia-Ecuador border. But in general, apart from two small populations it is absent from Colombia.
To the eastern limit of its range, the Madeira River, upstream in Bolivia, the Wattled Curassow is found in most of northern Bolivia in a 700 km region surrounding the confluences to the Madeira's tributaries, four major rivers of northern Bolivia. For Brazil, the bird is only found in the wild, in Brazil's Amazonas state; its northeasternmost limit is the confluence regions along the Amazon River, Madeira, Rio Negro, and the Purus Rivers.
The Wattled Curassow is rarely found in the wild, and classified as a vulnerable species due to unsustainable hunting and habitat destruction.