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Nashville Zoo Welcomes First Blue-Billed Curassow Chick

The survivability of blue-billed curassows just increased.

41137968845_df5c79ab5a_mNashville Zoo avian staff welcomed its first curassow chick on May 5. After incubating the egg for 30 days, the chick was assisted in hatching by Nashville Zoo keepers and veterinary staff.

Nashville Zoo keepers had to assist the hatching of this chick because the chick was slightly inactive during the second day after its initial pip in the shell membrane.

After keepers noticed the shell membrane was dry instead of wet, they decided to assist the chick in hatching.

“This is a very valuable animal and we need to do everything we can to help it survive,” said Shelley Norris, Nashville Zoo Avian Area Supervisor. “This egg hatching is significant because curassows are critically endangered in the wild.”

There are only 54 blue-billed curassows in zoos across the country and only about 750 in the wild. The population has been in decline due to habitat loss and fragmentation.

This is the first chick born from couple Albert, 3, and Victoria, 5, who both arrived in Nashville in 2015.

Nashville Zoo’s curassows have laid eggs in the past, but some have either not been viable or the female has knocked the eggs out of the nest

“She has no idea that she’s supposed to sit on the eggs,” Norris said. “We think it’s because she’s young and things haven’t kicked in yet.”

Nashville Zoo avian staff are working with Houston Zoo and the Species Survival Plan on where to best place this chick.

Blue-billed curassows are believed to live in the same areas in Columbia as cotton-top tamarins, a primate species that was recently introduced in the Zoo’s new Expedition Peru exhibit. The Zoo is contributing to the conservation project Proyecto Titi that benefits sustaining the cotton-top tamarin population, which could potentially also benefit the blue-bills with the installation of camera traps to monitor the species.

“We’re learning how best to care for them,” Norris said. “Right now, this species is just so critical, we basically are just keeping them alive in general until we can find a solution in the wild.”

About Nashville Zoo
Nashville Zoo is a nonprofit organization and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, assuring the highest standards of animal care and husbandry. The Zoo is actively engaged in conservation research, habitat protection, breeding programs and education initiatives around the globe as well as in our own backyard. The Zoo attracts more than 980,000 visitors annually and is considered one of the top attractions in Nashville. Nashville Zoo is located at 3777 Nolensville Pike and is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information about Nashville Zoo, visit nashvillezoo.org.