Highlighted Story: Blue-billed Curassows

Working to Save the World's Most Endangered Cracid

CPSG Mexico designed and facilitated a workshop to develop a National Conservation Action Plan for the blue-billed curassow in Colombia.


  • Blue-billed curassows are among the most threatened birds in the world. Wild populations of these Critically Endangered cracids survive only in small patches of remaining habitat in Colombia. They are considered an Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species.
  • Lowland forest habitat in the species’ former range has diminished dramatically due to clearing for livestock, plantations, mining, and oil extraction.
  • El Paujil Reserve, established in 2004, hosts a significant population of blue-billed curassows. Local authorities have introduced, and enforce, penalties for hunting or trapping the species in the reserve.

The Situation

The blue-billed curassow (Crax alberti) is a Critically Endangered endemic species from Colombia. Blue-billed curassows inhabit several protected areas in the country, yet many of these areas do not provide sufficient protections; thus the species is still threatened by overhunting and habitat loss. The current wild population size is estimated to be 250-999. The species does not yet have a National Conservation Action Plan approved by the Colombian government, although scattered conservation efforts have been implemented.

The Process
With input from the Colombian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (ACOPAZOA), the government of Colombia selected CPSG’s Population and Habitat Viability Assessment (PHVA) as the best process to create the basis for developing a National Conservation Action Plan for the blue-billed curassow. CPSG Mexico designed and facilitated the workshop, guiding participants through the development of a draft conservation action plan and modeling different scenarios to assess the viability of the species and its various populations. Using CPSG tools and processes, participants surfaced misconceptions and assumptions about the status and population size of blue-billed curassows.

The Results
Participants identified crucial next steps, particularly the need to better understand the natural history of blue-billed curassows and the effects of habitat loss on the species. Additionally, researchers at the workshop discussed a list of possible grants and have since created proposals to seek funding for ongoing conservation efforts. As a result of the workshop, a draft Action Plan for blue-billed curassows in Colombia will be presented soon to the Colombian government for its approval.