Birds – Flat-crested And Helmeted Curassows

There is a singular species found in British Guiana and the upper Amazons known as the Flat-crested Curassow (Nothocrax Urumutum), from the fact that the full long crest on the top of the head is recumbent. The male is brownish chestnut, finely mottled with black above and cinnamon below, while the crest is black, the bare space about the eyes purplish blue, and the bill scarlet. The female is somewhat more dusky and smaller. This bird appears to be strictly nocturnal in its habits, spending the day concealed in holes in trees or in the ground, and seeking its food high up in the trees at night. Of this peculiarity Mr. E. Bartlett says: “The habits of this bird render it most difficult to obtain, from its living in holes or burrows in the ground. The Indians remain in the forest all night at the place where it is heard. I was informed by the Peruvians, whose word I can rely upon, that these birds come out at night, and ascend to the top branches of lofty trees in search of food. The Indians are on the lookout, and shoot them just before sunrise as they are descending to return to their places of concealment, where they pass the day.” The last of this minor group that we may mention is the Helmeted Curassow (Pauxis Pauxi), which may be known by the presence of a large, elevated, egg-shaped helmet or casque covering the base of the upper mandible and forehead. Like the others the general color of the plumage is black, which in this species is glossed with dark green. This bird is confined mainly to the mountain forests, being especially abundant in Venezuela.