Penelope ochrogaster 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Galliformes Cracidae

Scientific Name: Penelope ochrogaster Pelzeln, 1870
Common Name(s):
English Chestnut-bellied Guan
Taxonomic Source(s): SACC. 2005 and updates. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Identification information: 67-77 cm. Medium-sized, brownish cracid. Pale brown head, becoming darker brown on upperparts, wings and tail. Chestnut-rufous underparts, brighter on belly. White flecking from upper breast to mid-belly and on wing-coverts. Whitish supercilium contrasts with dark eyebrow, which extends around auricular and throat. Dusky facial skin. Red-orange throat and dewlap. Similar spp. Rusty-margined Guan P. superciliaris is smaller with unstreaked wing-coverts and browner belly. Voice Raven-like cry reported. Harsh, loud alarm calls.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v);C2a(i);D1 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Olmos, F. & Antas, P.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Symes, A., Sharpe, C.J., Capper, D., Symes, A., Khwaja, N.
This species is listed as Vulnerable because its small population and range are continuing to decrease owing to continuing habitat loss, with additional pressures from hunting.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Penelope ochrogaster occurs in the "cerrado" (tropical savanna) and northern Pantanal of Brazil (P. de T. Z. Antas in litt. 2012). There are three disjunct populations, one occurring in the Pantanal, another in central Brazil and the third along the São Francisco River (Antas 2006). The largest population is that in the Pantanal (P. de T. Z. Antas in litt. 2012). There had been no records from the São Francisco River since 1913, until the species was observed twice on one of its tributaries in a 1998-2007 survey (Faria et al. 2009). It is moderately common in Poconé, Mato Grosso, including the SESC Pantanal Private Natural Heritage Reserve (P. de T. Z. Antas in litt. 2012); along the Araguaia north of Ilha do Bananal, and along the Paranã, Tocantins (F. Olmos in litt. 2007), where it has been rediscovered within the Cantão State Park. However, the extraordinary paucity of historical and recent records suggests that elsewhere it is highly localised. Moreover, the concentration of recent records suggests that it may have been extirpated throughout much of its formerly large range.

Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:1050000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:5Continuing decline in number of locations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population is estimated to number 1,000-2,499 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 667-1,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 600-1,700 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  Trends appear to be "fairly stable", but some decline is suspected on the basis of large scale habitat loss/degradation and hunting pressure (P. de T. Z. Antas in litt. 2012).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:600-1700Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:2-100Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:In the north Pantanal, it inhabits "cordilheira" (high-ground) forest, and particularly semi-deciduous gallery forest with a continuous canopy of 15-20 m. These forests are rich in woody lianas (mainly Sapindaceae and Bignoniaceae) along the edges, with a relatively open undergrowth except for occasional dense patches of terrestrial bromeliads. It presumably feeds mostly on fruit, but during the dry season (between May and September) is possibly heavily dependent on the flowers of Tabebuia trees (Olmos 1998).

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): Habitat loss for new cattle pastures and small-scale agriculture is the major threat in Poconé, where hunting is rare or non-existent. Tabebuia trees are cut to rebuild bridges along the Transpantaneira road each year after the floods (Olmos 1998). Elsewhere, it has presumably suffered from massive habitat loss and hunting for food. Large areas of central Brazil have been converted to plantations of eucalyptus, soybeans and pastures for exportable crops (Stotz et al. 1996, Parker and Willis 1997). Much of this destruction has occurred since 1950, and has been encouraged by government land reform initiatives (Parker and Willis 1997).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
It is protected under Brazilian law, and has been recorded around the periphery of Pantanal National Park and Araguaia National Park. It is found in Cantão State Park and is fully protected within the SESC Pantanal Private Natural Heritage Reserve (P. de T. Z. Antas in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to assess the species's current range and ascertain its occurrence in Araguaia National Park, where there has not been comprehensive recent work and there is a record of an unidentified Penelope species dating from the late 1990s. Protect populations in Poconé from further habitat loss. Consider the development of sustainable forestry practices to supply materials for bridge repairs on the Transpantaneira road. Encourage sustainable forestry practices among the cattle-grazing community. Support the proposal for a national park in the Rio Paraguaizinho Basin (P. de T. Z. Antas in litt. 2012). 

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Penelope ochrogaster. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22678395A92772232. . Downloaded on 16 August 2018.
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