Pauxi Pauxi: An Endangered Bird

The Pauxi pauxi is a curious bird that carries an exceptional bone helmet on its skull. It lives in the extreme south of South America: in Venezuela and Colombia.
Pauxi pauxi: a bird in danger of extinction

The Pauxi pauxi is a species of bird in the order  Galliformes  of the Cracidae family . He lives exclusively in Colombia and Venezuela.

Characteristics of Pauxi pauxi

The Pauxi pauxi is a large bird, measuring between 85 and 96 centimeters in length. It is characterized by a bony skull that rises above the head, in the shape of a fig or cylindrical helmet, in a grayish blue color. This bony helmet measures about three inches in length.

The head and neck have velvety black feathers ; while the rest of the lateral and dorsal plumage varies from dark to glossy black, with greenish or blue highlights.

Its belly is white, like the end of its tail. They have brown irises, a dark red beak and crimson red paws.

Distribution and habitat of Pauxi pauxi

The habitat of the Pauxi pauxi is restricted to Colombia and Venezuela. In Colombia, it inhabits the southwest of Santander and the northern part of Boyacá, and there is also a subspecies in the Serra de Perijá.

bird pauxi pauxi

In Venezuela, it lives in the Serra de Perija, to the south, up to the Tucuco River, in the state of Zulia. It is also found south of Tachira to the north, across the Andes in Mérida, Lara, Yaracuy and east of Falcon, Cordillera de la Costa in Aragua, Carabobo, Distrito Capital, Vargas and Miranda.

It lives in dense, cloudy jungle and mountainous terrain, including an altitude range of 500 to 2,000 meters  above sea level.

However, it is most frequently observed in cloud forests, between 1,000 and 1,500 meters.

Behavior and reproduction of Pauxi pauxi

They are terrestrial, diurnal and have arboreal habits. Furthermore, they fly little and do so only when they feel cornered by a predator.

They are territorial and live in family groups of males, females and offspring. Their hours of food activity are mainly in the early morning and late afternoon.

During the breeding season, the male makes a ventriloquic noise like the creak of an old tree. The wake-up call is a smooth, repetitive “tzsuk”. It also cackles.

pauxi bird pauxi

The breeding season includes the months from January to July and they breed once a year. The place to build the nest is chosen by the female, and is usually found on the branches of large trees with vines. They get too covered.

Typically, nests are made at a height of four to six meters. The female takes four to six days to build a nest with twigs and dry sticks.

The incubation of eggs – at most two – is done exclusively by the female, for a period of 34 to 36 days. The eggs are 12 centimeters long and 6 centimeters wide, with a very hard and rough shell.

The male does not approach the nest until the chicks are born. The care of the puppies is carried out between the male and the female.

Pauxi pauxi conservation

Indiscriminate hunting and habitat loss are the main threats to the Pauxi pauxi. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in its Red Book of Endangered Species, states that this species faces a high risk of extinction in the near future.

It is included in Annex III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), but only in Colombia.

In both Venezuela and Colombia, the Pauxi pauxi is considered threatened in the Red Book of both countries.

The situation of its population throughout its distribution area – Colombia and Venezuela – is sparse, with population densities less than a pair per 20 to 40 hectares; which is equivalent to 5 to 10 individuals per square kilometer.

Its global population is estimated at less than 2,500 adult individuals.

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