Family Guans, Chachalacas, Curassows (Cracidae)


Great Curassow (Crax rubra)


French: Grand Hocco German: Tuberkelhokko Spanish: Pavón norteño
Other common names: Cozumel Curassow (griscomi)

Crax rubra


, 1758,

no locality


C. globicera is a synonym of present species. Most closely related to C. daubentoni and C. alberti#R. Has hybridized in captivity with C. alberti and C. alector, producing fertile offspring. Bogus forms “C. chapmani” and “C. hecki” described from females of rare barred morph. Birds occurring S from S Nicaragua described as a separate species, “C. panamensis”, but not now accepted even as a race. Taxonomic revision of populations required, especially in S of range, as undescribed races may be found. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. r. rubra Linnaeus, 1758 – E Mexico (S from S Tamaulipas) S through Central America to W Colombia and W Ecuador (formerly S to Guayas, but now seemingly restricted to Esmeraldas).
  • C. r. griscomi Nelson, 1926 – Cozumel I, off Yucatán coast of SE Mexico.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 87–92 cm, 3600–4800 g; female 78–84 cm, 3100–4270 g. Crest very well developed; this and prominent knob on bill separate male of present species... read more


    Vocal behaviour subject to detailed investigation in Costa Rica. Booming song, given only by males... read more


    Heavy rainforest in tropical and lower subtropical zones; usually occurs in lowlands, but also in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits, including figs and those of Spondias (Anacardiaceae), Chione (Rubiaceae) and Casimira (Malpighiaceae);... read more


    Season Feb–May in mainland Mexico, just before rains; Feb–Jun on Cozumel I; incubating females found late Feb–early Jun... read more


    Sedentary, although local people report that the species is present in Yaxchilán Natural... read more

    Status and conservation

    VULNERABLE. Overall population considered to number fewer than 40,000 individuals. Rapidly disappears wherever logging roads are built into previously inaccessible forests;... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Great Curassow (Crax rubra). 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 30 March 2020).