Bare-faced Curassow Crax fasciolata


Justification of Red List category
This species's population size is suspected to be declining rapidly as a result of deforestation and unsustainable hunting. For this reason, it is listed as Vulnerable.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified. In Brazil, the species is locally common (as in the northern Pantanal and Serra dos Carajás), but it is now rare and local in São Paulo State (Gomes et al. 2018). Surveys in the Brazilian Pantanal (where little hunting occurs) in 2002-2004 estimated a population density of 4.66 individuals/km2 in a forest landscape, 0.43 individuals/km2 in a floodplain landscape, and 2.90 individuals/km2 in a cerrado landscape, with an average density of 3.67 individuals/km2 across the whole study area (Desbiez and São Bernardo 2011). In Paraguay, the species was still relatively numerous in 1999 in northern Concepción Department, where a density of 4 individuals/km2 was estimated in gallery forest along the Río Apa (Clay 2001). A study in 2010-2012 in the gallery forests of the Pilagá River in Formosa, Argentina, detected individuals at encounter rates of 4.6 records per 10 km of terrestrial transect and 1.3 records per 10 km of river transect (Fernandez-Duque et al. 2013). Surveys in the same region in 2016 found that the species is rare within 7 km from human habitation (Zalazar et al. 2018). In Bolivia, the species was previously considered to be fairly common (del Hoyo and Motis 2004), but more recently it was said to be rare to uncommon (Herzog et al. 2016).

Trend justification
Remote sensing data on forest loss within the species's mapped range indicate that approximately 16% of tree cover with at least 50% canopy cover was lost from within the species's range from 2000-2019 (Global Forest Watch 2021). Extrapolating over three generations (25.7 years), it is estimated that 21% of forest was lost within the species's range. Over four years from 2016-2019, approximately 4.7% of tree cover with at least 50% canopy cover was lost from within the species's range (Global Forest Watch 2021). Assuming this rate remains constant, it is projected that up to 30% of forest will be lost from the species's range over three generations from 2016, and up to 32% will be lost over three generations from 2021.

The species is affected by hunting as well as by habitat loss. It has disappeared from parts of its range as a result of hunting (Berkunsky and Di Giacomo 2015), and research in Argentina suggests that current hunting levels are unsustainable (Anon. 2018).

Combining the impacts of forest loss and hunting, the population size is suspected to have undergone a reduction of 20-29% over the past three generations. It is suspected to undergo a reduction of 30-39% over three generations from 2016, and over three generations from 2021.

Distribution and population

Crax fasciolata occurs in eastern Bolivia (C. f. grayi), with the nominate C. f. fasciolata occurring in central and south-west Brazil, Paraguay and north Argentina. The nominate race occurs in Brazil from Sao Paulo, Paraná (at least formerly) and Mato Grosso do Sul, north through Minas Gerais, Goiás and Mato Grosso, and into Pará (del Hoyo 1994, WikiAves 2018). In Bolivia the species is widely distributed throughout the llanos de moxos (savannas), with many areas holding protected populations (B. Hennessey in litt. 2003). In Argentina, populations remain only in Formosa, and in Chaco, where there have been recent reports from the Zapirán, Oro and Guaicurú rivers (Anon. 2018), and a record of a single female at Chaco National Park that may be an escaped or released captive individual (Bodrati and Lammertink 2011, MAyDS and Aves Argentinas 2017). It has disappeared from Corrientes (where it was last recorded in c.1980), Misiones and Santa Fe (MAyDS and Aves Argentinas 2017). In Paraguay, the species was previously thought to have been almost or completely extirpated from much of its range, but in 1999 the species was still relatively numerous in northern Concepción Department (Clay 2001). It is still recorded an annual basis in gallery forests in Concepción and Ñeembucú Departments, and a nest was discovered in 2011 in the Chaco-Pantanal area (H. del Castillo in litt. 2014).


This species inhabits humid, semi-deciduous and gallery forests, and is often recorded in woodland edges (del Hoyo 1994). Surveys in a variety of landscapes in the Brazilian Pantanal recorded 72% of individuals in closed forest habitats and 28% in open grassland, usually near forest edge (Desbiez and São Bernardo 2011). In Argentina, it appears to be restricted to gallery forest (MAyDS and Aves Argentinas 2017). It is primarily frugivorous but also has been noted feeding on seeds, flowers and invertebrates (del Hoyo and Motis 2004). Breeding evidence has been noted in the southern hemisphere summer in Paraguay and Argentina; nest is a platform located in a tree (del Hoyo and Motis 2004).


Although the species occupies a relatively large range, it has disappeared from parts of its former range as a result of habitat destruction and hunting (del Hoyo 1994). Deforestation, largely through conversion to arable crops and to pasture, remains a serious threat across the species's range. Selective logging further degrades habitat, including in Formosa, Argentina (Zalazar et al. 2018). Hunting pressure is an issue in Goiás, Tocantins and southern Pará (F. Olmos in litt. 2003). In Argentina, the species disappeared from Corrientes in c.1980 due to hunting and the construction of the Yacyretá dam (Berkunsky and Di Giacomo 2015). It is still hunted heavily in Argentina outside the Guaycolec Reserve (Berkunsky and Di Giacomo 2015), and research suggests that current hunting levels are unsustainable (Anon. 2018). Human presence in northern Concepción Department (Paraguay) has increased considerably, and hunting pressure here may now be high (Clay 2001). The species is also sometimes trapped to be kept as a pet (MAyDS and Aves Argentinas 2017).

Conservation actions

Conservation  and research actions underway
The species is listed as nationally Endangered in Argentina (MAyDS and Aves Argentinas 2017) and nationally Vulnerable in Paraguay (Ministerio del Ambiente y Desarollo Sostenibile 2019). It occurs in a number of protected areas, including Río Pilcomayo National Park and Guaycolec Provincial Reserve in Argentina, Emas, Brasília, and Araguaia National Parks in Brazil, and San Rafael National Park, Mbaracayú Forest Nature Reserve, and Serranía San Luis National Park in Paraguay. In Argentina, it is legally protected in Formosa, and an action plan has been developed for its conservation in Chaco (Anon. 2018).

A captive population is maintained and a project is underway to reintroduce the species to the Iberá Reserve in Corrieres, with several captive individuals released in 2020 (Zamboni et al. 2018, Rewilding Argentina 2020). There are also plans in place to reintroduce the species to the Chaco National Park (Anon. 2018). Also in Argentina, a project is underway, with actions to delimit further protected areas and to carry out an education programme (Anon. 2018).

Research is underway on the species's population size, distribution and ecology in Argentina (Anon. 2018).

Conservation and research actions proposed

Expand the protected area network to effectively protect IBAs. Protect remaining forest across its range. Effectively resource and manage existing and new protected areas. Enforce legislation prohibiting hunting and forest clearance, particularly in Paraguay and Argentina. Promote ecotourism to encourage the species's conservation. Reintroduce the species to parts of its range where it has been extirpated. Continue education programmes to raise awareness of the species's conservation needs.

Carry out further surveys across the range to produce a population size estimate. Research the impact of hunting on the species's population size. Monitor hunting levels and deforestation across the species's range. 


c. 75 cm. Males are large, black curassows with bare skin surrounding the eye; slick, curled crest and bright yellow skin at the base of the bill. Females have similar curled feathers as a crest, but have buff underparts, white banded upperparts and white tips to the tail feathers. Similar species. C. pinima was previously included with C. fasciolata; the former is smaller, females have much reduced barring above and are almost white below, not buff.


Text account compilers
Wheatley, H.

del Castillo, H., Fisher, S., Taylor, J., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A., Harding, M., Butchart, S. & Martin, R.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Crax fasciolata. Downloaded from on 04/10/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 04/10/2023.