Family Guans, Chachalacas, Curassows (Cracidae)


Helmeted Curassow (Pauxi pauxi)


French: Hocco à pierre German: Helmhokko Spanish: Paují de Yelmo
Other common names: Northern Helmeted Curassow

Crax pauxi


, 1766,

Mexico; error = Venezuela


Traditionally thought to be closely related to P. unicornis, which has been considered a race of present species; such a relationship disputed in some genetic studies#R (see P. unicornis). Race gilliardi has sometimes been considered a separate species, but little known and differences from nominate appear to be slight. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. p. gilliardi Wetmore & Phelps, Sr, 1943 – Sierra de Perijá, on both sides of Venezuela–Colombia border.
  • P. p. pauxi (Linnaeus, 1766) – NC & W Venezuela S through Andes of Mérida into extreme N part of E Andes of Colombia (as far W as N Boyacá); in Venezuela, may once have occurred as far E as Sucre and Monagas#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    85–92 cm; male 3500–3750 g; one female 2650 g. Large, fig-shaped (nominate race) bluish-grey casque on forehead. Normal morph female like male; barred (rufous)... read more


    Vocalizations strongly reminiscent of P. unicornis; the song is a repeated, low-pitched... read more


    Dense, wet, cool montane forest (cloudforest) on steep slopes in subtropical zone; also ranges into... read more

    Food and feeding

    Poorly known. Mainly fallen fruits and seeds, which are taken from ground; also tender leaves, grasses and buds of undergrowth plants; only... read more


    Territorial singing begins with onset of rainy season, usually in Dec; nests built in Mar–Apr; one juvenile of race gilliardi... read more


    Mainly sedentary, but it has been suggested that species makes some altitudinal movements, possibly... read more

    Status and conservation

    ENDANGERED. Situation serious: action urgent. Population presently estimated at fewer than 2500 mature individuals. Common during 19th century in mountains of N Venezuela: in... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Helmeted Curassow (Pauxi pauxi). 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 21 February 2020).