Skip to Content
Zoo News Blog

An Egg-citing Father’s Day

Rare Endangered Bird Hatches at Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo is thrilled to celebrate one of its newest fathers after a rare, wattled curassow chick hatched. This is the first time in almost 30 years that a wattled curassow hatchling is being raised by its parents at the Zoo. Wattled curassows are an endangered species, and each hatch is significant. The current zoo population consists of only 25 birds across five organizations within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and six of those birds live at Houston Zoo. Guests can see the rare new hatchling staying close to its parents in the Savanna Aviary inside South America’s Pantanal.

Wattled curassows are a very rare bird from the Amazon rainforest and can be found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. Their numbers in the wild are rapidly declining due to habitat loss, hunting, and predation. For the past 20 years, Houston Zoo has been one of the top zoos to successfully breed wattled curassow chicks and increase the numbers of the endangered species in accredited zoos. 

With this species the female wattled curassow incubates the egg while the male remains close by to guard the nest. The males have white feathers and the iconic wattles and knobs, indicative of their name, while the females have a red, brown coloration. Wattled curassows are distinct vocally and produce a whistling that can be easily identified.

By visiting Houston Zoo, guests are helping to save wild birds, like the curassows in South America. A portion of each Zoo membership and ticket helps the Zoo provide support for replanting trees in South America. The Zoo is also helping birds by serving Bird Friendly coffee. Bird Friendly® coffees are grown in a way that provides shelter and a variety of foods for birds and other wildlife. Bird Friendly® coffee farms rank just beneath virgin rainforest in terms of their importance as habitat for wild birds.