Great Curassow

Great Curassow
Photo: Inge Curtis

This is a species I may never see in the wild but grateful for this wonderful image of two female Great Curassows in the jungle of Costa Rica. It introduced me to a whole new family, including cracids and guans, as exotic as they sound.

Found throughout Central America and into Mexico, these wild turkey-sized birds are uncommon, not surprising considering adults carry up to 10 lb of meat. Females occur in three morphs, which can merge where they overlap, and those pictured here are the barred variety. Males are different, black with a curly crest and yellow knob on their beak, they care less for camouflage than swanky looks. They are monogamous, but that’s not necessarily characteristic of large, shy birds as we will see when the Northern Jacana appears on a post.

By Roger Gosden

British-born scientist specializing in reproduction & embryology. Career as professor & research director spanned from Cambridge to Cornell's Weill Medical College in NYC. Married to Lucinda Veeck Gosden, embryologist for the first successful IVF team in America. Retired early to Williamsburg, Virginia, to write and recover from 'nature deficit disorder'. Currently a visiting scholar at William & Mary.

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