Mitu mitu (Linnaeus, 1766)

Alagoas curassow, Northern mitu



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Pauxi mitu Linnaeus, 1766; Crax mitu Linnaeus, 1766; Mitu tuberosa mitu Linnaeus, 1766


Conservation Status

Extinct in the wild (reintroduction is being attempted; Francisco et al., 2021)

Last record: 1977 or later; 1988 (unconfirmed sighting) (BirdLife International, 2018)

IUCN RedList status: Extinct in the Wild


The Alagoas curassow disappears from the records in the mid 17th century. It was thought to be extinct, until it was rediscovered in 1951, virtually 300 years after last confirmed. A captive population was founded in 1977, which totalled 44 individuals in 2000 (IUCN 2010 edition, compiler/s unacknowledged). However, some of these birds, born after 1990, are hybrids with the Razor-billed Curassow (M. tuberosa) (Grau et al., 2003).



Alagoas and Pernambuco states, Brazil (north-eastern)


Biology & Ecology




One specimen in the Natural History Museum, Bern was destroyed since 1970 (Güntert et al., 1993).






Original scientific description:

Linnaeus, Carolus. (1766). Systema naturae per regna tria naturae: secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Ed. 12. 1., Regnum Animale. Part 1. Holmiae [Stockholm], Laurentii Salvii. pp. 1-532.

Other references:

Actualidades Ornitologicas. 2000. AO apresenta uma entrevista com o Sr. Dalton Marchioli, expert criador de saíras e afins. Actualidades Ornitologicas 93(Jan/Feb): 10.

de Avelar Azeredo, R. M. and Simpson, J. G. P. (2014). Rearing the Extinct in the Wild Alagoas curassow Pauxi mitu for future reintroduction programmes. International Zoo Yearbook 48(1): 29-38. [Abstract]

BirdLife International. (2012). Mitu mitu. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. ( Downloaded on 22 July 2012.

BirdLife International. (2018). Mitu mitu. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T22678486A132315266. Accessed on 10 June 2022.

Brooks, D.M. 2006. Conserving cracids: the most threatened family of birds in the Americas. Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, TX, U.S.A.

Collar, N.J. and Butchart, S.H.M. 2013. Conservation breeding and avian diversity: chances and challenges. International Zoo Yearbook 48(1): 7-28.

Costa, M. C., Oliveira, P. R. R. Jr., Davanço, P. V., Camargo, Cd., Laganaro, N. M., Azeredo, R. A. et al. (2017). Recovering the Genetic Identity of an Extinct-in-the-Wild Species: The Puzzling Case of the Alagoas Curassow. PLoS ONE 12(1): e0169636.

Dalrymple, S. E., Abeli, T., Ewen, J. G., Gilbert, T. C., Hogg, C. J., Lloyd, N. A., Moehrenschlager, A., Rodríguez, J. P. and Smith, D. (2023). Addressing Threats and Ecosystem Intactness to Enable Action for Extinct in the Wild Species. Diversity 15: 268.

del Hoyo, J. (1994). Family Cracidae (Chachalacas, Guans and Curassows). In Handbook of the Birds of the World Volume 2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott and J. Sargatal eds). Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

del Hoyo, J., et al. (2020) Birds of the World. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA

Donald, Paul F. et al. (2010). Facing Extinction: The world's rarest birds and the race to save them. London: T & A D Poyser. [Google Preview]

Francisco, Mercival R. et al. (2021). Recovered after an extreme bottleneck and saved by ex situ management: Lessons from the Alagoas curassow (Pauxi mitu [Linnaeus, 1766]; Aves, Galliformes, Cracidae). Zoo Biology 40(1): 76-78. doi: 10.1002/zoo.21577

Gabriela M. Gama, Ana C.M. Malhado, Chiara Bragagnolo, Ricardo A. Correia, Richard J. Ladle. (2016). Cultural viability of reintroducing the ecologically extinct Alagoas Curassow (Pauxi mitu Linnaeus, 1766) to Northeast Brazil, Journal for Nature Conservation 29: 25.

Gama, Gabriela M., Malhado, Ana C. M., Bragagnolo, Chiara, Correia Ricardo A. and Ladle, Richard J. (2016). Cultural viability of reintroducing the ecologically extinct Alagoas Curassow (Pauxi mitu Linnaeus, 1766) to Northeast Brazil. Journal for Nature Conservation 29: 25-32. [Abstract]

Grau, Erwin Tramontini, Pereira, Sérgio Luiz, Silveira, Luís Fábio and Wajntal, Anita. (2003). Molecular markers contribute to a breeding programme of the extinct-in-the-wild Alagoas Curassow Mitu mitu and confirm the validity of the species. Bird Conservation International 13: 115-126. [Abstract]

Güntert, Marcel et al. (1993). The E.A. Goeldi zoological collection in the Natural History Museum Bern: Comments on an inventory. Jahrb. Naturhist. Mus. Bern 11: 147-161.

Holmes, Branden. (2021). What's Lost and What Remains: The Sixth Extinction in 100 Accounts (eBook). Self published.

Knox, Alan G. and Walters, Michael P. (1994). Extinct and endangered birds in the collections of The Natural History Museum. British Ornithologists' Club Occasional Publications 1: 1-292.

Lisboa, C. 2017. Reintrodução do mutum-de-Alagoas está próxima da realidade. ((o))eco.

Muñoz, M.C.; Kattan, G.H. 2007. Diets of cracids: How much do we know? Ornitologia Neotropical 18: 21-36.

Nardelli, P. M. (1993). A preservação do mutum-de-Alagoas, Mitu mitu. Quiemados, Rio de Janeiro: Semana Ilustrada Editorial.

Pereira, G.A.; de Melo Dantas, S.; Silveira, L.F.; Roda, S.A.; Albano, C.; Sonntag, F.A.; Leal, S.; Periquito, M.C.; Malacco, G.B.; Lees, A.C. 2014. Status of the globally threatened forest birds of northeast Brazil. Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia 54(14): 177-194.

Piacentini, Vítor de Q. et al. (2015). Annotated checklist of the birds of Brazil by the Brazilian Ornithological Records Committee / Lista comentada das aves do Brasil pelo Comitê Brasileiro de Registros Ornitológicos. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 23(2): 91-298.

Pinto, O. M. O. (1952). Redescobrimento de Mitu mitu (linné) no nordeste do Brasil (est. de Alagoas) Provada a independência de Mitu tuberosus (Spix) como espécie àparte (sic). Pap. Avulsos Zool., São Paulo 10: 325-334.

Sayol, Ferran, Steinbauer, Manuel J., Blackburn, Tim M., Antonelli, Alexandre and Faurby, Søren. (2020). Anthropogenic extinctions conceal widespread evolution of flightlessness in birds. Science Advances 6(49): eabb6095. [Supplementary Material (Data File S1)]

Sick, H. (1993). Birds in Brazil. Princeton University Press.

Silveira, Luis Fábio and Olmos, Fábio. (2003). Cracids in coastal Alagoas State, Northeastern Brazil. Annual Review of the World Pheasant Association, 2002/2003, Hampshire, UK, p. 49-52.

Silveira, L. F., Olmos, F. and Long, A. (2003). The Alagoas Curassow: world's rarest cracid. Bulletin of the IUCN/Birdlife/WPA Cracid Specialist Group 17: 31-34.

Silveira, L. F.; Olmos, F.; Long, A.J. (2004). Taxonomy, history, and status of Alagoas Curassow Mitu mitu (Linnaeus, 1766), the world's most threatened cracid. Ararajuba 12: 125-132.

Smith, Donal et al. (2023). Extinct in the wild: The precarious state of Earth’s most threatened group of species. Science 379(6634): eadd2889.

Sousa, L. M. S., Laganaro, N. M., Camargo, C., Davanço, P. V., Oliveira, P. R. R. Jr., Azeredo, R. M. A. et al. (2013). Microsatellite markers for detecting hybrids between the extinct in the wild Alagoas Curassow (Pauxi mitu) and Razor-billed Curassow (P. tuberosa) (Aves, Galliformes). Conserv Genet Res. 5: 181-183.

Strahl, Stuart et al. (eds.). (1995). Conservation Assessment and Management Plan for Neotropical Guans, Currasows, and Chachalacas. Working draft. International Union for Nature Conservation and Natural Resources, Apple Valley, USA.


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