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Curassow

species and birds

CURASSOW, kfi-ras'o, a bird of the sub family Cracitse and family Cracid.x of the Gallifornses, related to the guan (q.v.) and mound-bird (q.v.). The name is derived from the supposed origin of those first known to Europeans from the island of Curacao. The curassows are exclusively birds of tropical America and are especially abundant in the forests east of the Andes. Tliey are large, sometimes equaling the turkey in size, with handsome plumage and in some varieties crested head. Usually the trachea of the pales forms a loop within the sternum, as in certain cranes, and this renders possible the clear ring ing voices of these birds. They are chiefly arboreal, but also scratch on the groun8 (or their food, which consists largely of nuts, ber ries and tender leaves. Most species also nest in trees and, as the young are precocious, a curious sight is presented by their scrambling among the branches while still in the down.

Being highly prized for food, some of the species have been domesticated. The genus Crox has a soft cere and crested head; there are about 10 species in Central and South America. The Nothocrax has no cere, and the lores, or spaces between the eyes and beak, are naked. Mitue is similar, but the lores are feathered; M. wilts is a beautiful blue-black species of Brazil and adjoining countries to the north. Pauxis contains the well-known P. galeata of zoological gardens, in which the frontal region of the head bears a large, deep blue knob. It is a native of the extreme northern parts of South America. Interesting accounts of these birds will be found in Bates, on the River Amazon> (1863).