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Curassow Chicks at The Belize Zoo!

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Bird’s the word for Belize Zoo staff, as we welcome a beautiful pair of Great  Curassow chicks to the Curassow family group.  Parents “Hans and Sigi” are the best Mom and Dad, too. “ Sigi” sees that her chicks are always in close contact, and they all share food from the same plate.

Breeding the Great Curassow in captivity is uncommon.  “Hans and Sigi” are a strongly bonded Great Curassow pair.  Like many bird species, they are monogamous for life.   Watching them, it is easy to see that they are very devoted to one another.  Give “Hans” a peanut, and he will shake his head until “Sigi” comes over to him.  Once there,”Hans” enthusiastically passes his peanut to her.  Such a noble bird!  “Hans” is shiny black in colour, and his one very distinguishing feature is this:  On his beak is a bulbous bright yellow appendage.   Called a “carunkle”, this outlandish attachment is used to attract mates.

It sure worked well for “Hans”! “ Sigi”, brown in colour, enjoys staying close to her beloved mate.  However, her attentions these days are directed to the little chicks.  Until more time passes, the sex of the lee Curassows cannot be determined.  At about six weeks, their colours develop and then it is a snap to tell boy from girl…

Sharing their exhibit is another attractive forest bird, “ Penny”.   A Crested Guan, or “Quam”, Penny gets on well with her Great Curassow cousins.  Both the Crested Guan and the Great Curassow are in the chicken family.   Their roomy and spacious enclosure allows for all of these beautiful chicken -relative birds to have their own “space”.

What is their status in the wild?  Unfortunately, these beautiful and charismatic birds are in decline.  Besides being affected by a serious loss of habitat, they are relentlessly hunted, too.  Sadly, if Belize does not begin to put forward strong preservation directives aimed at saving our remaining forest landscape, both the Great Curassow and the Crested Guan, will only exist at The Belize Zoo.   This would, indeed be a sad legacy to leave for our future generations.  

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