Family Guans, Chachalacas, Curassows (Cracidae)


Black Curassow (Crax alector)


French: Hocco alector German: Glattschnabelhokko Spanish: Pavón guayanés

Crax Alector


, 1766,

“America calidiore”


C. nigra is a synonym. Has hybridized in captivity with C. rubra. Race erythrognatha, described on basis of cere colour, not unanimously accepted; birds from extreme E Venezuela are intermediates, having rich yellow bill with some orange shading; also, in Macarena Mts of Colombia (well into range of erythrognatha), birds have orange-yellow, instead of red, cere. Two subspecies usually recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. a. erythrognatha P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1877 – E Colombia (Meta and Vichada S to R Caquetá) and Venezuela S of R Orinoco (except extreme E).
  • C. a. alector Linnaeus, 1766 – extreme E Venezuela (W to Cerro de la Neblina), the Guianas and N Brazil N of R Amazon.
  • Descriptive notes

    85–95 cm; male 2850–3750 g; female 2400–3425 g. Crest shorter and less dense than in other species of Crax. Essentially lacks bill knob and wattles... read more


    Booming song is lower-pitched than that of Mitu salvini and consists of two parts “... read more


    Humid terra firme forest and gallery forest, favouring thickets along rivers and tangled... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly fruits (96·51% in one study in French Guiana); also some leaves, buds and shoots (2·83% together); invertebrates,... read more


    Dec–Apr, during rainy season, in Surinam (coinciding with wet season); records of a nest with eggs in Apr and young in Mar, Jul and... read more


    Presumably sedentary; home ranges seem to vary, perhaps according to available resources, from 57... read more

    Status and conservation

    VULNERABLE. In Colombia common, at least formerly, at E base of E Andes and in Macarena Mts; at latter locality, considered most abundant large bird on slopes and summits of... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2018). Black Curassow (Crax alector). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 18 March 2018).