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2 critically endangered blue-billed curassows hatch at Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Scientists estimate between 1,000 and 2,500 remain in the wild.
Credit: Heather Anderson, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
A female blue-billed curassow chick named Aluna hatched Aug. 5, 2022 at Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.

WASHINGTON — The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is celebrating some egg-citing news: two critically endangered blue-billed curassows have hatched! 

This is a first for the keepers at the Smithsonian's Bird House. The two chicks, named Aluna and Lulo, are thriving and described as being confident and curious by the zoo keepers. Aluna made her first appearance into the world on Aug. 5 while her sister Lulo was born a couple of weeks later on Aug. 28.

The im-pecc-able duo are now part of the limited North American population of blue-billed curassow -- 73 total. 

“Every moment with these chicks has been a dream come true for me,” animal keeper Heather Anderson said. “I have had the goal to breed the blue-billed curassow since my first year of zookeeping. It was amazing to watch these precocial birds as their instinctual abilities to eat, perch and preen their feathers kicked in—all in the first day of life! For other bird species, those milestones could take weeks to achieve.”

Blue-billed curassows, which are native to Columbia, are considered critically endangered by the International Union of Conservation of Nature. Scientists estimate between 1,000 and 2,500 remain in the wild. 

Watch Next: Smithsonian National Zoo vaccinating animals against COVID-19

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