Penelope perspicax 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Galliformes Cracidae

Scientific Name: Penelope perspicax Bangs, 1911
Common Name(s):
English Cauca Guan
Taxonomic Source(s): SACC. 2005 and updates. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Identification information: 76 cm. Medium-sized, drab cracid with bright red dewlap. Dull brownish-grey, with mainly chestnut rear parts and tail. Heavily whitish-scaled feather edges from head to mantle and breast. Similar spp. Crested Guan P. purpurascens is larger, with conspicuous streaked appearance (not scaled) and olive-brown rear parts. Andean Guan P. montagnii is smaller, with tiny dewlap, and much duller chestnut on lower back and wings. Voice Like other guans, loud, raucous honking, especially vocal during breeding season and when alarmed in groups.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Gomez, N. & Salaman, P.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Symes, A., Benstead, P., Symes, A., Sharpe, C.J.
This species qualifies as Endangered. It has a very small known range in which severely fragmented habitat patches are declining. Its population is believed to be very small and divided into extremely small subpopulations which are suspected (as a result of ongoing habitat loss and hunting) to be declining.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Penelope perspicax occurs on the west slopes of the West and Central Andes (Risaralda, Quindío, Valle del Cauca and Cauca), Colombia. Its current distribution is only 5% of its former range (Kattan et al. 2006). It was formerly considered mostly an east slope species in the West Andes (Hilty and Brown 1986), but the only records on this slope are apparently from Yotoco Forest Reserve (Silva Arias 1996) and Río Lima (both near low passes in Valle del Cauca), the south-east slope of Cerro Munchique, Cauca, and possibly those collected above Patía, Cauca, and at Clementina (an untraced locality). There are recent records from just four confirmed areas: Otún-Quindío , La Sirena, Yotoco and Chorro de Plata (Kattan et al. 2006). The Otún-Quindío Flora and Fauna Sanctuary, together with the Ucumarí Regional Park, constitute the global stronghold for the species, with the largest cluster of habitat blocks (Renjifo 1997-1998, Kattan et al. 2006). It is thought that historical factors or other non-autecological mechanisms (e.g. competition with other Penelopinae species) explain its restricted occurrence (Rios et al. 2008).

Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:560
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:6Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:NoLower elevation limit (metres):1300
Upper elevation limit (metres):2150
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population is estimated to number 250-999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend Justification:  A slow and ongoing population decline is suspected based on ongoing rates of habitat loss and hunting pressure.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:250-999Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:Yes
No. of subpopulations:2-100Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:At 1,600-2,150 m, it appears mostly dependent on large, humid, primary forest fragments (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000), but most recent records at 900-1,600 m have been from plantations of exotic broadleaf trees, secondary forest and forest edge (Silva Arias 1996). Breeding has been recorded in forest borders, mature secondary forest and in a Pinus plantation, and, in the north of its range, coincides with rainy periods of the year, September-October and February-March (Silva Arias 1996). The Cauca Guan is a generalist in habitat, diet and nest placement (Rios et al. 2008). It has a generalist frugivorous diet consisting of a wide variety of fruits, as well as insects, foliage and flowers. During periods of low fruit availability, guans relied on the young leaves of the exotic Chinese Ash Fraxinus chinensis, congregating in large groups of up to 30 individuals during November and December (Muñoz et al. 2007). This artificial habitat was used by guans for more than a quarter of the year (Rios et al. 2008).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):5.7
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It has suffered from severe loss of suitable habitat (almost total in the middle Cauca valley) over the period of human colonisation. Many of the localities, at least historical ones, are near the Buenaventura-Buga and Buenaventura-Cali roads, and are thus severely threatened by colonisation and associated deforestation (Salaman and Stiles 1996). Munchique National Park is subject to the same threats, as well as dam construction. The species is also hunted for food, even in some protected areas, although apparently not in Ucumarí (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000). If it does occur in the relatively intact forests of the Pacific slope of Valle del Cauca and Cauca, then logging is a key threat (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000). It is not clear which factors limit the distribution and population of this species but habitat fragmentation and hunting are likely to be the major threats (Rios et al. 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
Ucumarí is contiguous with Los Nevados National Park, and it also occurs in the adjacent Otún-Quimbaya Flora and Fauna Sanctuary (Renjifo 1997-1998). Yotoco and Bremen (Quindío) Forest Reserves hold small populations (Renjifo 1997-1998). It has not been found in Munchique area since its detection just outside the national park (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000).  Reasearch into captive breeding potential is underway (Londoño and Dominguez 2005).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey and estimate population sizes, especially in Ucumarí (Silva Arias 1996, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000). Develop and implement an action plan for the species and its habitat (N. Gómez in litt. 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000) and extend captive breeding efforts.. Provide posters and resources for an educational programme about cracids, particularly aimed at limiting hunting (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Penelope perspicax. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22678379A92770934. . Downloaded on 17 August 2018.
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