Razor-billed Curassow Mitu tuberosum


Justification of Red List Category
This species is suspected to be declining moderately rapidly as a result of ongoing deforestation and hunting across its range. For this reason it is listed as Near Threatened.

Population justification
This species is described as 'uncommon' (Stotz et al. 1996). Surveys have recorded the following population densities: 1.65 individuals /km2 in an unhunted area and 0.02 individuals /km2 in a hunted site in northeastern Peru (Begazo and Bodmer 1998), 1.8 individuals per km2 in unhunted forest in Brazil (Peres et al. 2003), 0.02-1.77 individuals /km2 in Bolivia (Martínez and Ayala 2013), 1.63 individuals /km2 in terra firme, 3.45 individuals /kmin varzea and 1.11 individuals /kmin igapo forests in Brazil (Haugaasen and Peres 2008), 0.62 and 2.12 individuals /kmin hunted terra firme forest, 5.9, 8.9 and 7.89 individuals /kmin unhunted terra firme forest and 12.18 and 2.73 individuals /kmin seasonally flooded forest in Peru (Endo et al. 2010), and 11.3 (7.4–17.3) individuals /kmin unhunted forest in northern Peru (Barrio 2011).

Based on the first quartile and median of the above population densities, an estimated area of habitat in 2000 of 3,670,000 km2 (Global Forest Watch 2021) and assuming between 10 and 40% of habitat is occupied, the population size is tentatively suspected to fall within the range 500,000 - 3,000,000 individuals. This may roughly equate to 300,000 - 2,000,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Over 20 years from 2000-2020, approximately 11% of tree cover with at least 50% canopy cover was lost from within the species's range (Global Forest Watch 2021). Extrapolating this rate over three generations (25 years) to 2020, it is estimated that approximately 13% of tree cover was lost from the species's range. Based on the rate of tree cover loss that occurred over 2016-2020 (Global Forest Watch 2021), it is projected that up to 19% of tree cover may be lost from the species's range over the next 25 years.

Although the species is dependent on forest habitat, the link between habitat loss and its population size is poorly known. The species's abundance is also impacted by hunting in parts of the range (Begazo and Bodmer 1998, Peres et al. 2003, Peres and Palacios 2007, Barrio 2011), which may be contributing to declines.

Overall, the species's population size is suspected to have undergone a reduction of 8-18% over the past three generations, and it is suspected to undergo a reduction of 10-25% over three generations into the future.

Distribution and population

Mitu tuberosum occurs across Amazonia, from southeastern Colombia south through Peru to Bolivia, and east across Brazil to Maranhão in the north and Mato Grosso in the south. It has been extirpated from parts of its range due to hunting (Udoye and Schulenberg 2020, Moura et al. 2014).


It occurs in lowland forest, including terra firme forest, gallery forest, seasonally flooded forest and lake margins (Udoye and Schulenberg 2020). It feeds mainly on fruit, including Pseudolmedia sp., Clarisia recemosa and Lecointea amazonica, as well as leaves and invertebrates (Torres 1989).


The primary threat is deforestation across the range, largely for conversion to crops and pastureland, as well as for road-building. Additionally, it is regularly hunted for food across its range, and is sometimes used as a religious symbol or for medicinal purposes (Udoye and Schulenberg 2020). As a result of hunting, it has been extirpated from parts of its range (Peres 2001, Moura et al. 2014, Udoye and Schulenberg 2020), and is depleted in others (Begazo and Bodmer 1998, Peres et al. 2003, Barrio 2011). Studies have found that the species is being hunted at unsustainable levels in northeastern Peru (Begazo and Bodmer 1998) and Brazil (Peres 2001). However, studies at another site in northeastern Peru found that hunting was at sustainable levels (González 1999), and hunting at a site in southern Peru was thought to be sustainable despite exceeding the maximum sustainable yield, due to immigration from surrounding habitat (Ohl?Schacherer et al. 2007). An analysis of sites across the Amazon basin found that hunting had a significant negative effects on the species's abundance (Peres and Palacios 2007). Fires may cause local declines. Surveys in Brazil found that the species was absent from burnt forest (Peres et al. 2003).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Listed as Near Threatened in Peru (SERFOR 2018). It occurs in a number of protected areas.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Research the impacts of forest loss and degradation, and hunting on the species's population size. Continue to monitor habitat loss.
Enforce existing protected areas and designate further protected areas. Enforce legislation against deforestation across its range.


Text account compilers
Wheatley, H.

Butchart, S. & Ekstrom, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Mitu tuberosum. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/05/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/05/2022.