Photo of the Week: Great Curassow

8/26/2013 | 5


Great Curassow ©2011 Richard Unsworth

This spectacular closeup of a female Great Curassow is our new photo of the week. Richard Unsworth, who lives in Ourique, a town in southern Portugal, shot the photo in northeastern Costa Rica in December 2011 and posted it to our World Gallery.

Great Curassow is the northernmost of the 15 curassow species; it occurs from Mexico to Ecuador. The bird has curly crest feathers and is about three feet long.

Richard was in a small boat with a local guide on the edge of Tortuguero National Park near the Caribbean coast when he took the photo.

“Our guide was very surprised to see two female curassows in the bushes,” Richard says. “They are mainly seen walking on terra firma. They are quite large and uncommon. I have visited Costa Rica seven times, spending up to three months at a time walking the trais without guides, and have only seen Great Curassows twice!”

He used a Canon 7D and a 100-400mm lens.

Read about birding in Costa Rica

Unknown Costa Rica: The Osa Peninsula, the most underbirded corner of the country, is home to 400 species.

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  • Paul Clapham

    Yes, Great Curassow is a cool bird. But I spent five weeks birding in Costa Rica this year and I saw them on four occasions in three different locations. (One was on the trail just beside the beach in Tortuguero NP.) Maybe I was just lucky?


      Hi Paul

      Thats a good number of sightings, and obviously luck plays a part.
      ICN describes them as Vulnerable, and they are certainly not common.
      I have never seen a male GC. Did you get some good photo’s?
      I found lots of people visit Costaq Rica and dont see aToucan – go figure.

      • Paul Clapham

        My wife is the photographer, and yes she got some good photos. The first GC we saw was a male (the other 3 were females if I remember right). Here’s its picture at the top of the Costa Rica 2013 section of our website:


          Lookout inn Carate, happy memories, Terry is nuts lol. Got bit by Paul E the Macaw owww. Arenal area is so nice, stayed at Observatory many times. Your Curassows were well spaced. I saw 5 or 6 females on the Gamba Road Piedras Blacas, stayed down at Zancudo – wild!
          Your website brings back very happy memories; I will go back soon.

      • Paul Clapham

        By the way the bird in the picture I link to in the next reply was at the edge of the bushes just behind the pool at Arenal Volcano Lodge. The other two places I saw the curassows were on the trail by the beach in Tortuguero and on a boat trip on the Sarapiqui River.