2 critically endangered birds hatch at Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Two female blue-billed curassows hatched at the National Zoo. Aluna (right) hatched Aug. 5. Her...
Two female blue-billed curassows hatched at the National Zoo. Aluna (right) hatched Aug. 5. Her sister, Lulo, hatched Aug. 28.(Smithsonian National Zoo)
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 12:52 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray News) – A pair of critically endangered birds have recently hatched at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

In a release, the zoo said the hatchlings are both female blue-billed curassows.

Both of the chicks are being cared for off-exhibit, the zoo said. The first chick, Aluna, hatched Aug. 5, with her sister, Lulo, hatching on Aug. 28.

The bird’s keepers have described both of them as confident and curious.

The hatchlings were born to mother bird Jackie. Aluna’s egg was laid July 6 and Lulo’s July 27, according to the zoo.

Female curassows typically incubate their eggs for 29 to 31 days, but the zoo said Jackie showed no interest in incubating her eggs, so they were placed in an incubator. The team presiding over her said this meant that Jackie would not accept or bond with her chicks.

According to the zoo, there are a total of just 73 birds in the North American blue-billed curassow population, and there are more males than females, making the hatching of female birds in the species all the more critical.

Blue-billed curassows are native to Colombia and are considered critically endangered by the International Union of Conservation of Nature, with an estimated 1,000 to 2,500 birds remaining in the wild.

The zoo said the main threats to the bird species are habitat loss and fragmentation.