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Fr: Hocco à face nue
All : Nacktgesichthokko
Esp: Pavón Muitú, Muitú, Muitú Común, Pava pintada
Ital: Crace faccianuda
Port: Mutum-de-penacho
Nd: Maskerhokko
Sd: Gulnäbbad hocko

Photographers :

Marc Chrétien

Jean Michel Fenerole
Photos d’Oiseaux du monde

Tom Merigan
Tom Merigan’s Photo Galleries

Text by Nicole Bouglouan

Sources :

HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD Vol 2 by Josep del Hoyo-Andrew Elliot-Jordi Sargatal - Lynx Edicions - ISBN: 8487334156

L’ENCYCLOPEDIE MONDIALE DES OISEAUX - Dr Christopher M. Perrins - BORDAS - ISBN: 2040185607

Avibase (Lepage Denis)

BirdLife International (BirdLife International)

CREAGUS@Monterey Bay (Don Roberson)


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Summary cards


Bare-faced Curassow
Crax fasciolata

Galliforme Order – Cracidae Family

Male: Length: 77-85 cm – Weight: 2700-2800 g
Female:  Length: 75 cm – Weight: 2200-2700 g

The Bare-faced Curassow is an inhabitant of humid forests and gallery forests in the Pantanal in SW Brazil, and in other Neotropical regions.  

Adult male has black plumage with blue gloss, including head, wings and tail. The outer rectrices are narrowly tipped white.
On the underparts, belly and vent are white.
The head shows bare black area around the eye. The crest is black, formed with several feathers with curved up tips.
The bill is black with conspicuous yellow cere, incipient knob and without wattles. The eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are dark grey.

Adult female of nominate race has black head with black-and-white crest and black neck. Upper breast, upperparts, wings and tail are black, narrowly barred white. The tail is tipped white too.
On the underparts, lower breast and belly are pale buff, with mostly buffy-white lower belly and vent.
The bill is black with black cere. Legs and feet are pale reddish-pink.

The juvenile is duller with shorter crest. The immature male resembles adult male, but it has some yellow on the bare facial skin, below the eye.

We find three subspecies. All males are similar, but females show some differences:

C.f. fasciolata (here described and displayed) is found in C and SW Brazil, Paraguay and N Argentina.

C.f. grayi occurs in E Bolivia. The female has black upperparts with both white and buff-orange bars. Underparts are orange-buff too, darker than in nominate race.

C.f. pinima occurs in NE Brazil. The female has narrower white barring on the upperparts. On the buffy-white underparts, breast sides are barred black.

The Bare-faced Curassow gives low-pitched booming, similar to the sound produced by blowing across the mouth of an empty bottle. Only the male booms. Boomings of about 5-7 seconds are emitted at intervals of 12 seconds and during 30 minutes, usually in the early morning and /or in the evening. This sound can be heard sometimes during full moon nights. Whistles are heard too.
Booming “oomh” is produced by powerful expulsion of air from the throat. The female utters low-pitched notes, in order to maintain vocal contact with her mate while foraging and walking through the forest.
The song is closely related to breeding season, and is used as territorial call, but also to attract a female and to warn off other males.

The Bare-faced Curassow frequents humid, semi-deciduous forest and gallery forest. It is often seen at woodland edges too. It may sometimes wander along beaches at dawn and dusk.

See above in “subspecies”

The Bare-faced Curassow feeds mainly on plant matter, fallen fruits taken on the ground, seeds and flowers, especially those of Tabebuia trees.
It forages alone or in pairs, and they can be seen at salt-licks where they take salt-rich earth, probably in compensation for feeding fruits.

At the beginning of the breeding season, curassows engage in sophisticated ceremonies on the ground, involving series of movements performed in regular sequences.
The male performs wing-flapping in order to enhance the contrast between the black plumage and the white belly, usually hidden by the flight feathers at rest.

Courtship feeding is also reported. The male holds a food item in the bill while turning the head to one side. The female comes and takes the food, but sometimes after long time while the male is waiting for her.         
Copulation usually occurs on the ground.
Small groups of single-sex of about ten males can be seen outside the breeding season. At night, they roost in trees for better protection.

The Bare-faced Curassow is non-migratory, especially in Pantanal of Mato Grosso, and probably throughout the whole range.

It performs lengthy glides on its broad wings, using the long tail as support in the air. These glides are made from tree canopy. The bird climbs up into the canopy from which it sets off on another glide.

Breeding season varies according to the range.
The Bare-faced Curassow builds a platform with sticks, twigs and leaves, and lined with leaves too. This flat structure is placed in a tree, at about 4-5 metres above the ground. The nest is often hidden in vegetation, usually a tangle of creepers.   

The female lays two eggs and incubates alone during about one month. The chicks are fairly large and robust, but the female broods them during the night, with one chick under each half open wing. The chicks are fed by both parents for the first days, offering them food with the bill tip, but not regurgitated food. But the young birds are able to feed themselves very soon, and the adults often call them to indicate good food sources. However, they continue to receive food from parents from time to time.

The Bare-faced Curassow feeds on fruits fallen from trees, seeds and flowers. It sometimes takes salt-rich earth at salt-licks.

The Bare-faced Curassow of nominate race always occurs in Brazil, and can be locally common in some parts of this region. It is rare and threatened in Argentina, and close to disappearing in Paraguay. But the species is widespread in Bolivian savannas and in several protected areas. The species is threatened by habitat loss and hunting pressure.
Currently, this species is not globally threatened, and evaluated as Least Concern by BirdLife International.