Game Bird

Game Bird

Game Bird

Game BirdGround-dwelling pheasants and quails make up the largest and most widespread family in the order of Galliformes, which also contains the grouse, turkeys, guinea fowl, megaspores, guans, and curassows. The family includes some remarkable birds: the Domestic fowl, man’s most useful bird; the Blue peacock, a byword for beauty and mythology; the Crested argues pheasant, which has the largest feathers of any wild species in its tail; the Tibetan snowcock, which lives at a higher altitude than another bird.

From the dense rain forests of Southeast Asia to the arid deserts of Arabia or the high rocks of the Himalayas, almost every habitat has its characteristic species of pheasants or quails. They are absent only from Antarctica, some oceanic islands, the southern half of South America (where they are replaced by tinamous), and the tundra sand forests of the far north (where they are replaced by grouse).

Game BirdNearly all pheasants and quails are heavy, rotund birds with short legs and rounded wings. From the tiny Blue quail tithe stately Blue peacock, they are strong runners and rarely fly except to escape from danger, when they burst from cover in an explosion of rapid wing beats. Although some quails (Coterie species) are migratory, for flying most members of the family rely only on glycogen-burning sprint muscles; they cannot remain airborne for longhand and are therefore sedentary, staying within a few kilometers of their birthplace. Except for some of the tree quails of Central America and the dragomans of eastern Asia which are partly arboreal in habits, they feed exclusively on the ground. Many species, however, roost in trees at night to avoid ground predators. Most are generalized her-ivories, eating seeds or shoots, but some forest species search among leaf litter for insects or fallen fruit. All are day-active.

The family can be divided into four groups: New World quails, Old World quails, partridges, and pheasants. The New World quails are most typically plump, little quails, boldly marked with black, white, huff, and gray; some carry firm, forward-pointing crests or “topknots.” Perhaps the best-known species is the Bobwhite quail which is often pursued by hunters in the USA. Old World quails are found throughout the grasslands of Africa, Asia, and Australia. The Common quail migrates from Africa to Europe and from India to Central Asia to breed. Two other species are nomadic, invading areas in large flocks following rain: the Harlequin quail in Africa and the
Blue quail in Asia, Africa, and Australia.

Game Bird

The partridges are a diverse collection of stocky, medium-sized game birds found in a range of habitats throughout the C_World. They include the giant snowcoLwhich may weigh 3kg (6.61b) in alpine tundras of the mountains _in Central Asia. In Southeast Asia, there El-7several poorly known species that inhale tropical rainforests, including the splenic. rollout. Partridges are most commonly found, however, in open habitats suchsemideserts, grassland, and scrub. Many species adapt well to cultivation, notably the Gray or Hungarian partridge, which are common in farm liars throughout much of Europe and have been introduced to North America. In Euro modern agricultural techniques, in particular, the widespread use of pesticides and herbicides, have caused a steady decline number in recent years. Africa has only two genera of partridges, the bantam-like Stone partridge and the diverse francolins of which there are more than 4o species, most of them confined to Africa. These partridge-like birds are sturdy, live in a variety of habitats, and tend to be rather noisy.

The term pheasant is usually reserved forth large, colorful, long-tailed members of the family. Of these 48 species in 16 genera, all but one are confined to Asia. The exception is the extraordinary and beautiful Congo peacock, the late discovery of which, by W. L. Chapin in 1936, was an ornithological sensation. Pheasants are forest birds; some live in the rain forests of Southeast Asia, and others at various altitudes on the great mountains of Central Asia. Despite colorful male plumage and loud, raucous calls, most are shy and rarely seen. Extreme examples of this are the ruffed pheasants of western China—the Golden and Lady Amherst’s (or Flower) pheasants. Males of both species are astonishingly gaudy, the Golden in red, yell-low, and orange, Lady Amherst’s in white, green, black, and red. For long European naturalists simply dismissed the birds as figments of the imagination of Chinese artists.

There is an interesting variation in the social organization within the family. Most of tire’s smaller quails and partridges are gregarious but monogamous. Some of the rah.-larger pheasants, such as peafowl.  Most are gregarious, but many are solitary. Especially those that inhabit the dense forests. These species are usually polygynous (one male mat-in with several females) or promiscuous. Form-in no pair bonds.

Game BirdAmong partridges and quails the basic social unit is the covey, one family party perhaps with a few other birds attached_ In species that occupy open habitats snowcock, chokers or Bobwhite quail coveys often fuse to form larger flocks. At the other extreme, in forest-dwelling partridges such as the Blackwood partridge of Malaysia or some of the francolins, adults live singly or in pairs throughout the year. Pair formation usually takes place before the covey breaks up, although males often join another covey to seek a mate. As recent experiments with Japanese quail have demonstrated, this is probably to avoid inbreeding, although the quail were found to prefer their first cousins to more distant relatives when choosing a mate.

Among the larger, polygynous pheasants. Courtship involves long and spectacular rituals. An extraordinary but rarely seen sight is the display of the male Satyr tragopan from India and Nepal, which lowers fleshy, electric-blue lappet from its throat and inflates two slender blue horns on its crown. In the Himalayan monad pheasant, the iridescent males display in flight over the high cliffs and forests, calling wildly—breathtaking sight. Perhaps the most exciting of all displays is the dance of the Greatargus pheasant in the forests of Malaysia.

Adult males have huge, broad, secondary wing feathers, each adorned with a series of circular, golden decorations shaded to appear three-dimensional. An adult male prepares a special dance floor on the top of the hill in the middle of the forest. From this site, he plucks leaves and stems and blows away leaf litter by clapping his enormous wings. Early each morning he gives loudly. Wailing cries to attract females. If a female arrives, he begins to dance about her and at the climax of his dance, throws up hissings into two enormous, semi-circular fans and makes hundreds of “eyes. In the gap between his wings. His real eve can be seen staring at the female.

In the two species of argues pheasants, the display may end with mating, after which the female leaves to rear the brood unaided. However, in jungle fowl and Ring-necked pheasants, the male forms bonds with a number of females and guards them as his “harem” until the eggs are laid. This mating system is almost unknown in other birds (though common in mammals).

With the exception of dragomans, all pheasants and quails nest on the ground, forming a single scrape, usually in dense, herbaceous vegetation. Clutch size varies from two in argues pheasants to nearly 20in the Gray partridge (the largest clutch size of any bird). Predators often take a heavy toll on the eggs and female Ring-necked pheasants may make two or more nesting attempts each season. The female Red-legged partridge lays two clutches, one-fourth male to incubate, the second for her. Apart from this species, males take little or no part in incubation. In captivity, female Golden pheasants have been found to incubate continuously without food, water, or even moving, for 22 days. In one case so still did the bird sit that a spicier built its web across her hack. Whether this happens in the wild, in China, has yet to be established.

The young are well developed—they leave the nest within a few hours, feed themselves from birth, and can fly as young as one week old. Young Blue quail can and do breed when only two months old. Because they are so prolific, pheasants and quails can sustain heavy predation losses and man has learned to exploit this by managing them for hunting. Many species are hunted, notably the Ring-necked pheasant. The Red jungle fowl has an even more intimate relationship with a man. Still a wild native of India and Southeast Asia, this species was domesticated at least 5,000 years ago. Since then it has been transformed into the many different forms of Domestic fowl used by man for purposes as diverse as egg production and cock fighting.

Game BirdUnfortunately, the fact that pheasants and quails are good to eat has also led to excessive persecution. Not only have some species been hunted to the brink of extinction—over the brink in the case of the Indian mountain quail (although there are recent unconfirmed sightings) and the New Zealand quail, but many are vulnerable to destruction of habitat. This is because they are sedentary and, as ground feeders, are direct competitors with man’s most effective ally in • the destruction of natural ecosystems—the goat. The species in most serious trouble are the large, forest Pheasants of the Himalayas and eastern Asia. More than one-third of pheasant species are threatened with extinction.

However, there is a glimmer of hope. Many pheasants can be bred in captivity with comparative ease. Breeding of the Cheer pheasant of India by agriculturalists, for instance, is so successful that a captive surplus population exists, and attempts have been made to return captive-bred birds of this (and other species) to the wild in areas of Pakistan in which they have become extinct. Such efforts have proved extremely difficult, but there are successes. The masked race of the Bobwhite quail, for example, has been reintroduced successfully to Arizona. To educate the young quails about the real world it has proved necessary to scare them with simulated attacks from coyotes and men with guns. To teach them the arts of courtship and mating them we remixed with vasectomies quails of another wild subspecies. 

Game BirdThe endless coniferous forests and tundra are home to most grouse. When the north-earn lands in winter are still and nearly empty of other birds, the grouse are there to be seen and heard. Their size and number make them important foods for many predators such as the Red fox and goshawk. Many grouse inhabit coniferous or deciduous forests. They exploit the northern plant formations with roughly one species for each, cg the Spruce and Blue grouse in the boreal forests. Others inhabit more open areas, such as Red Grouse in moorland. Generally, grouse migrate short distances between a winter and a summer range within their local distribution.

In shape grouse resemble a plump chicken; in size, they range from pigeon to goose; and they live mostly on the ground. They fly with a burst of wings and a long glide. All have camouflage markings but in the display, they startle with brilliant color, erect plumage, and arresting sounds. Many are well adapted to the winter cold and snow. Grouse have large flight muscles which also function in the generation of heat, and storage of nutrients. The large crop and gizzard, and two very large coca in the hindgut, permit the holding and digestion of large quantities of fibrous food.

The diet of most grouse is notable for its monotony and low quality. Throughout winter most species feed on one or two species of trees or shrubs. Moreover, these may contain oils that are distasteful or poisonous to other animals. The spring and summer Provide a more varied diet of new growth and invertebrates. There is a steady ingestion of grit to the gizzard for the grinding of foods and perhaps a supply of minerals.

In spring, usually at dawn and at dusk. Males contend for mates by calling. Wing fluttering, display of neck, tail, and wing plumage, and colors of the beaks. Combs. And air sacs of the neck, and fighting. Females behave similarly but more subtly. Marina may be promiscuous, or polygamous. Or monogamous depending on the species.

About half the species of grouse corpus-a solitary territory: the others tes. Sharp-tailed and Sage grouse. And Prafriechicken) form leeks on traditional grounds or arenas. A leek is close-

  • Gathered from often great
  • Organized into a tight
  • Dominance.

Some grouse present fluctuations in numbers. Ptarmigans are abundant or scarce at 9—o year intervals. While many believe that food supply and predators control grouse populations directly, grouse regulate their density by their behavior towards each other. What drives this behavior and how it is geared to the environment are unknown. In Blue grouse, it is almost certain that populations are regulated in spring by behavior between members of the same species. The nutrient quality of food may limit density by affecting spacing behavior. Another view is that interaction causes a rapid genetic change in the frequency of aggressive or more peaceful individuals in the population. Aggressive individuals take up large amounts of space and cause populations to stop grow-in or decrease, peaceful animals tolerate crowding and allow an increase in population. Such genetic selection may enable grouse populations to adjust to changes in the amount of shelter, food, and predators.

In the tundra, grouse are little affected by man, while populations of forest and open country species are decreased or increased by logging, grazing, or farming. The most endangered is the Prairie chicken of North America; some subspecies are near extinction. There is a concern also over the magnify-cent Sage grouse. In parts of Europe, the reappears be a new long-term decline in the number of Black grouse and capercaillie that may be caused by acid rain.

Many millions of grouse are killed each year for sport, food, and trophies. Habitat management helps preserve and even increase populations of game birds such as Ruffed grouse in North America and the British Red grouse, a subspecies of Willow ptarmigan that lacks white plumage in winter. The plumage of the ptarmigan makes the warmest and lightest clothing and bedding. The feather adornments and foot-stamping dance of the Plains Indian are a derivative of the plumage and courtship display of the Prairie chicken. Tail feathers of the Black grouse adorn the traditional Scotsman’s bonnet. Spanish explorers of the 6th century introduced the turkey to Europe and it is thought that Mexican Indians first domesticated this valuable source of meat. Today’s Domestic turkey probably originated from a Mexican race of the Common turkey.

Turkeys are large birds with strong legs, which in the male have spurs. The two members of the family differ in plumage, especially the tail, and the spurs on the males’ legs. They generally walk or run, but can fly strongly for short distances. Both species have similar plumages, but the much smaller Oscillated turkey lacks the “chest tuft” of bristles found on Common turkey males and some females. Both have naked heads (red in the Common and blue in the Oscillated), bearing wattles and other ornaments used in displays. The spurs are larger and more slender in the Ocellated turkey. The characteristic eyespots on the more rounded tail of the Oscillated turkey give the species its common name.

The Common turkey is the more widespread and at the time of European colonization was found as far south as Guatemala. A wide variety of food items has been recorded in the diet of both species. The bulk of the diet is made up of seeds and berries. Acorns are known to be an important part of the diet of the Common turkey in parts of the United States and the bird has a large muscular gizzard to cope with such food items. The male has a thick swelling on the chest during the breeding season, a store and oil on which it draws during its extremely energetic courtship activities.

In the early z 9th century turkeys were considered serious agricultural pests and Farmers often placed guards around their wheatfields to deter large groups of turkeys. Today grain is known not to be an important part of the diet. Small reptiles such as salamanders and lizards are also known to be taken by turkeys. Other rare food items include snakes. Many invertebrates, such as grasshoppers, make up the diet and must provide an important source of protein.

Common turkeys are polygynous (one male mating with several females). Females are thought to start breeding at one-year-old, whereas males usually have to wait until they are older, due to competition from older, more experienced birds. The male birds go through an elaborate display to acquire mates. Spreading their tail fans. Drooping and rattling the main flight feathers, and swelling the head ornaments. They strut up and down on traditional “strutting grounds,” gobbling as they do so.

After mating has taken place. The females go off by themselves and build the nest. The nests are usually not far from the strutting grounds and are no more than leaf-lined scrapes in the ground. Although the clutch size ranges from 8 to i5 eggs. One nest may have 20-30 eggs, as more than one female will often lie in a nest. The female alone incubates the eggs, and if she leaves the nest, even for a short period, will make sure the eggs are covered.

The well-developed (precocial) young are cared for by the female for their first two weeks and in the evening they are brooded. However, once the young have the basic use of their wings they spend the nights roosting in the trees. After a few weeks the brood islet to fend for itself.

The brood flock remains together until the young are around six months old when the males will separate off to form all-male flocks. The males in such a sibling group are inseparable even a solitary male will not try to join them. The juvenile sibling groups usually form flocks, as the older males can normally chase off the younger birds. Thesis is a tough time for the young male, as he has to do a lot of fighting, both to determine his dominance among his siblings and to help determine his group’s status within the flock. Fights can be very vicious and involve the use of wings and spurs. The contest can last for up to two hours and fights to the death have been recorded. However, once dominance has been established within sibling groups it is rarely challenged. Between groups, fights are usually won byte larger units and, again, once dominance has been established there appears to be a fairly stable society.
Females, too, need to establish rank but do not appear to be anything as overt as the males. In general, older females are dominant to younger birds, and those females from sibling groups accustomed to winning contests also seem to win individual contests.

Towards the beginning of the breeding season, the large male flocks break up, but sibling groups remain tight. At the strut-ting grounds, it is males of the dominant groups that obtain most of the matings. Establishing dominance, even within the group. Is vital as only the top bird’s mate. In one study it was shown that of 170 males present at the strutting ground, six carried out all the mating. The common name of guinea fowl derives from the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, from which the common domesticated form originated. Guinea fowl are about two-thirds the size of chickens and all species roost at night, preferably in trees. The Helmeted guinea fowl readily ventures into gardens and thrives in areas cultivated with wheat and maize, but is not a crop pest. Guinea fowl live in flocks during the drier or cooler months but split up into monogamous pairs and smaller groups of non-breeders during the breeding season. All species occupy the same niche that of a ground-dwelling opportunistic feeder.

Guinea fowl have a virtually naked, richly pigmented head, wattles, and a distinctive adornment (often a casqued or crest) on the top of the head. Variation in these features distinguishes the species. It appears that in the Crested and Helmeted guinea fowls, geographical variation in the size and shape of wattles and crown adornments, and in the extent of naked skin on the head, helps these species to regulate brain temperature in a range of different climates.

Guinea fowl probably evolved from francolin or chicken-like ancestors. The White-breasted and Black guinea fowl are the most primitive. They have unspotted or lightly vermiculated black plumage (all other species are black, spotted white), redheads (blue or grayish-blue in other species), rudimentary wattles (well-developed in most of the remaining species), spurs on the ankle or tarsus (other species unsure)like their ancestor, and piping, musical alarm notes (other species cackle raucously). They appear to be the least gregarious of guinea fowl.

The Plumed and Crested guinea fowl are much more gregarious (flock size o-3o) and much fewer birds of a primary rain forest than the preceding two species. The Crested guinea fowl can even be found in thickets,
And will venture out into open areas on the borders between forest and savanna. The distinctive feature of these two species is the feathered crest, consisting of long, straight: feathers in the Plumed and shorter, curly downy feathers in the crested guinea fowl. The characteristic low pitch of their cackles is perhaps due to having their windpipe (trachea) loop through a hollowed-ou: extension of their “wish-bone” (furcula which may act as a resonant organ.

The Vulturine guinea fowl is the largest: and most striking species. Its head adorn-mint is a band of chestnut downy feathers running from ear to ear across the back of the head. It also has red eyes (brown in most other guinea fowls), rudimentary wattles, well-developed hackle of long spearhead-shaped (lance late) feathers striped black. White and iridescent blue and several bumps (not spurs) on the tarsus which are conspicuous in courtship displays. This sub-desert steppe dweller apparently does not need drinking water and occurs in groups of 20-3 o during the non-breeding season.

The most widespread and best-known species is the helmeted guinea fowl. There are many different forms, the variations cur-relating to (and presumably adapted to differences in vegetation type, temperature, and rainfall. The characteristic features, in both sexes, are a bony casqued (the helmet) covered with a sheath of keratin and very well-developed blue and/or red wattles. Although there is little difference of form between the sexes in this, or other, guinea fowl, there are clear sex differences in behavior. In addition, females have characteristic two-note “buck-wheat “call, with the second note accented. Males answer this with a single-noted call; the two calls are given alternately.

The bizarre nesting habits of the robust, ground-dwelling megaspores set them well apart from the rest of the game birds. The eggs are laid in a variety of mounds and burrows where the heat for incubation comes from the sun, from fermenting plant matter, or even from volcanic activity. The young are well developed and independent (precocial); on hatching, they burrow to the sure-face through the material of their “incubator,” then run off into the bush. Another feature unique among birds is that the young can fly within hours.
The best-studied species is the Malice fowl of southern Australia which predominantly inhabits dry male scrub. The birds are strongly territorial and the males utter their calls (including a loud booming call) from anywhere in the territory during the breed-in season. They probably pair for life but lead fairly solitary lives, usually roosting and feeding separately.

The mound is worked for up to T r months of the year, but breeding is confined to spring and summer. About July, when the temperature inside the mound reaches about 30°C (86°F), the male removes the covering sand and excavates holes in the fermenting organic matter. Eggs are laid from September to January at intervals of several days. The mound is then re-covered and its temperature regulated (mostly by the male) to a constant 33°C (9 r .4°F) by excavating and covering the mound as necessary. Heat comes from a combination of fermentation and solar energy.

The Australian brush turkey and the three New Guinean brush turkeys of the genus Talegalla also build large incubation mounds of leaf litter and soil.
The males of the Celebes leave their rainforest homes in the breeding season and walk up to 3okm (18-19mi) to sandy beaches, by preference black volcanic sand, where the females excavate holes above high water and deposit one egg in each hole. The sand covering is presumably heated byte the sun. The hatchling chicks make their way back to the far-off jungle.

The widespread Common scrub fowl main fact consists of several distinct species. It lives in montage and lowland rain forests, monsoon forests, gallery forests, dune vegetation, and scrubby “coral jungles,” and has managed to reach many tiny isolated islands. It builds the largest mounds of all -up to I tm (36ft) in diameter and 5m (over 6ft) high made of leaf litter and soil and, because of their size, usually encompassing one or more tree bases. The temperature is regulated at 3o-35°C depending upon the time after laying the egg during the breeding season (August to January in north Queensland). The mounds attract predators, particularly the Komodo dragon and other monitors that excavate the mounds for eggs.

A large mound may be used by three or four pairs, but only one pair works at a time. Both males and females work the mound allure around. Their large strong feet sweep the ground clear around the mound. An I kg (2.21b) male was once seen to shift a stone which proved to weigh 6.9kg (15.21b)! Mounds may be used for many years. Several in the Northern Territory have been used as “archaeological sites” to determine fire frequency (as indicated by charcoal layers) in the recent past.

Several species may lay eggs in the same mound. There is evidence that the Commonscrub fowl parasitizes mounds of Talegallaand also other scrub fowls. Where sufficient natural heat is available, scrub fowls may not build a mound at all. On small islands and beaches, they lay eggs in warm sand above high tide or even in rock clefts covered by leaves. Most remarkable of all are those Common scrub fowls that lay their eggs enhancing in burrows in volcanically heated soiling New Britain, the Solomon, and elsewhere. The burrows are often densely concentrated up to one nest per 2osq m(215sq ft) on Symbol in the west Solomon Islands and the underground hot streams and gases provide an incubation temper-nature of 34°C (9:3.2°F). Such concentrations of eggs are harvested regularly by local people, often according to strict rules.

The committee at Cara village, New Britain, decrees that one man can only take 30 eggs a day and only harvest on two days, that no dogs may be used to find the nests and that all eggs containing developing chicks are tube replaced. In the Celebes, rent is paid to the tithe Government for permission to harvest at the breeding beaches of the maleo. Elsewhere, particularly on small islands in Micronesia, the gun and egg collectors are a significant threat to many island populations. FIIJC,
Unlike most game birds, guars are chiefly tree dwellers. They are big-bodied birds with smallish heads, thin necks, short, rounded wings, and long, broad tails. This Central and South American family comprises three groups, the chachalacas, guans, and curassows.

Chachalacas live fairly close to human settlements and are conspicuously gregarious, living in flocks of up to r of. The nine species of chachalacas (genus Oxtails) are the smallest and dullest, being generally plain brown with bare patches on the throat. They are predominantly ground feeders, their plumage providing excellent camouflage, but they readily take to the trees at the first sign of danger. They prefer low brush woodlands and wooded riverbanks, which have enabled one species, the Plain chachalacas, to survive in the remnant forests of the lower Rio Grande in southern Texas. Whole flocks usually call together, especially at dawn or dusk, and the rhythmic. Repeated “cha-lace-a” reverberates throughout the forest.

Guans are larger than the chachalacas and have a more colorful plumage, with some whitish edges to the body feathers. Which range from deep green to black, often with a glossy sheen on the back and wings: most have long crown feathers which form a crest. The outer primaries are rather spine-like, strengthened, and curved. And produce a peculiar drumming sound when the wings are vigorously shaken. These feathers are most developed in the two piping guans and

The Wattle and Sickle-winged guans. The spectacular drumming of their display flight through the treetops is augmented with deep raucous cackles.
Guans are the most widespread of the Acaridae. The 15 species of the genus Penelope are considered to be typical guans and, though tree-dwelling birds, also feed on the ground. More specialized and arboreal are the three species in the exclusively South American genus Iberia, which have shorter, less powerful legs and a well-developed wattle on the throat. The two species in the genus Chamaepetes are smaller and lack wattles. Of the remaining two species of guan, both restricted to Central America, the Highland guan is unique in that the female is larger than the male and differs in plumage. The Horned Guan is the most distinctive, but also shows features of the curassows to which it is probably closely related. Its cylindrical, 5cm long horn rises from the center of its crown.

Curassows are the largest and heaviest members of the family and are poor fliers, spending most of their time at ground level. They range in plumage from deep blue to black, invariably with a purple gloss, and all have rather curly crests. The distinguishing feature, especially of the genus  Crux, is the head or facial adornments of wattles andknobs which vary from yellow to bright crimson and blue; the Helmeted and Horned curassows have “horns” on the forehead which are used in elaborate courtship displays. The Nocturnal curassow, with its chestnut-colored plumage and red and blue bare-face skin, is one of the most colorful of the whole family, yet this species is entirely nocturnal.
Like the chachalacas, the rest of the family are noisy, necessarily so, to maintain contact in the dense and often dark forests. The windpipe of some species, notably the guans, is adapted for amplifying calls which are some of the loudest and most far-reaching of all birds. Curassows utter one or two booming or whistling notes.

All members of the Acaridae are mainly vegetarian, chiefly fruit eaters but also eat-in leaves, buds, and flowers; some also take small animals, large insects, or frogs. The chachalacas and curassows, with their long legs, big feet, and strong claws, scratch the litter on the forest floor in a chicken-like fashion. Curassows are able to consume nuts and tough seeds by swallowing small stones which aid digestion.

Nests are either low down in a tree or on the ground under heavy cover. The usually fragile structure is quite small in relation to tithing adult birds. The eggs are rather large, and are smooth in some of the guans (genus Penelope), or rough and pitted in the chachalacas and most of the curassows. Females care for the young, which hatch with well-developed flight feathers and can leave the nest after only a few hours. The young of some species are able to fly within a few days.

Most species are relentlessly hunted for food and “sport,” their tameness and inability to fly far or fast make them easy targets. The rapid destruction of the tropical forests also threatens, in large areas, this little-known and strangely alluring family of birds. The White-winged guan was thought to have become extinct in 1-87o but was rediscovered in 1977. Estimates of its population vary from 2 0 to r of birds. All-in an area scheduled for felling. The Red-billed curassow is also verging on extinction and is down to less than I of individuals.

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