Our main attention goes out to Cracidae: chachalaca’s, guans and curassows. Birds that inhabits the jungles and mountains in Middle- and South-America. They extend from Central Mexico to the south of Uruguay and northern Argentina.

Chacalaca’s are the smallest members of the family, their colour is duller than those of the guans and they live mainly in the drier parts of the tropics and spent a bit more time on the ground than guans do. Guans are medium-sized birds that are primarily arboreal. There are fifteen species of guans. Curassows are larger than other Cracidae and more terrestrial, spending half of the day on the ground. There are 14 species of curassows.

The primary threats to these birds include:

  1. Habitat loss and degradation: Deforestation and other forms of land use change are the biggest threat to Cracidae populations.

  2. Hunting and poaching: Overhunting for food, as well as for their feathers, eggs, and other body parts, is a major threat to some species of Cracidae.

  3. Climate change: Changes in rainfall patterns and other climatic factors can disrupt the birds' habitats and food sources.

  4. Disease: The spread of diseases, such as avian influenza, can have a significant impact on Cracidae populations.

Cracids are easy to keep, and breeding them is possible but will never be a mass-production because of their small clutches of mostly 2-3 eggs. They don’t make loud noises, eat an easy diet and are very hardy as they don’t suffer diseases often. This makes them interesting birds to keep and to observe.

Some of the steps that can be taken to conserve these birds include:

  1. Habitat protection and management: Protecting and managing habitats, such as tropical forests, is crucial for the survival of Cracidae species. This can be achieved through the creation of national parks and biological reserves.

  2. Restrictions on hunting: Hunting of Cracidae species should be regulated to ensure that their populations are not depleted. Laws and enforcement measures can be put in place to prevent over-exploitation of these birds.

  3. Research and monitoring: Research and monitoring programs are important for understanding the distribution, population trends, and habitat requirements of Cracidae species. This information can be used to inform conservation efforts.

  4. Education and awareness: Raising awareness and educating people about the importance of Cracidae species and the threats they face is essential for securing support for conservation efforts.

  5. Restoration of degraded habitats: Restoration of degraded habitats, such as the replanting of forests, can help to increase the available habitat for Cracidae species.

  6. Conservation breeding in- and ex-situ.

Pictures shown here are from our own collection and from my visits at El Nido (Mexico) and Pava Aliblanca (Peru).

I keep the curassows in aviaries with an outside part of at least 12m² planted with some palm trees (Trachycarpus fortunei), bambou, Buddleja davidii,... And because of climate conditions in my area they all have an inside part of 4m². The inside part is kept above freezing temperature to avoid birds from getting frost-injuries. Sand is used inside to cover the concrete floor to keep it dry and make it easy to clean. Food is standard pellets for Galliformes (Versele Show4 and Dindo2.2) with a snack of different fruits, vegetables and Versele T16. Most perches are inside to insure they sleep under te protection of the roof. Because the guans are more aboreal, i always put more perches in their aviaries, inside and outside. Young birds are raised on a mix of Versele Dindo 1 crumble and Show 1&2 crumble. Important is they get perches from day 1 to insure a good growth in feet and legs. And they like to sleep from the ground. 

Blue-throated piping guan (Pipile cumanensis)

Blue-Throated Piping Guan

Wattled guan (Aburria aburri)

Horned guan (Oreophasis derbianus)

Black guan (Chamaepetes unicolor)

Chaco chachalaca (Ortalis canicollis)

Little chachalaca (Ortalis motmot)

Ortalis motmot

In this movie you see Kara Sun, who is also passionate by Cracids, taking a small tour with some of our birds.

Movie credits @ Kara Sun