Pipile pipile


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Pipile pipile
Species Authority: (Jacquin, 1784)
Common Name(s):
English Trinidad Piping-guan, Trinidad White-headed Piping Guan, Trinidad Piping-Guan, Trinidad White-headed Curassow, Common Piping Guan
Spanish Pava de Trinidad, Pava Rajadora, Yacutinga Cariazul
Aburria pipile pipile Stotz et al. (1996)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered C2a(i,ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): James, C., Nelson, H., Ffrench, R., Hayes, F., Poon, S., White, G. & McGowan, P.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Butchart, S., Symes, A., Bird, J., Calvert, R., Isherwood, I., Pilgrim, J., Wege, D., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A., Butchart, S., Martin, R
This species has been extirpated from several areas. It is listed as Critically Endangered because the population is now extremely small and decreasing because of continuing illegal hunting and habitat loss.

2012 Critically Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Pipile pipile is endemic to Trinidad (Trinidad and Tobago), where it was once abundant throughout the Northern Range and the southern Trinity Hills, and also occurred in lowland areas such as the Nariva Swamp and Aripo Savannas. It is now extinct in the lowlands, and almost certainly extinct in the Trinity Hills (surveys have failed to find the species since 1994, although there is one credible report from Victoria Mayaro reserve in 2000) and the western end of the Northern Range, east to the Arima-Blanchisseuse road. The only extant population is in the eastern portion of the Northern Range, where 150-350 km2 of suitable habitat remains. The population is estimated at 77-231 individuals and unlikely to exceed 200 in total (Hayes et al. 2009).

Trinidad and Tobago
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population has been estimated at 70-200 individuals, though it is probably closer to the higher end of this estimate (R. Ffrench in litt. 1998, F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999) and so is placed in the band 50-249 mature individuals.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It feeds in the canopy of remote lower and upper montane rainforest, preferring steep, hilly areas with numerous streams, sparse ground-cover, a closed canopy and abundant lianas and epiphytes (F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999, 2008), and is known from elevations of 10-925 m (Hayes et al. 2009, F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999, 2008). It is known from secondary vegetation and cultivated land near to primary forest, and formerly occurred in semi-evergreen forest (R. Ffrench in litt. 1998, F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999, 2008); it seems to tolerate humans as long as canopy trees are available and it is not hunted (F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999, 2008). The species can thrive when hunting pressure is reduced and canopy trees are left intact within small-scale agricultural plantations: these are the two main requisites for conservation (Hayes et al. 2009). Very little is known about its breeding, but breeding seems to take place in most months and two eggs are laid. It feeds mainly on fruits, but also eats flowers and leaves (F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999, 2008).

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Illegal hunting and, to a lesser extent, habitat destruction through timber extraction and conversion to plantation agriculture are the chief causes of this species's decline (F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999, 2008). The threat from hunting in Grande Riviere remains despite ecotourism boosting general awareness for conservation issues (Waylen et al. 2009). It does not appear to be overly susceptible to human disturbance per se (Alexander 2002, Hayes et al. 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I. It has been legally protected since 1963. There were conservation and education campaigns in the 1980s, but new initiatives in 1997-1998 appear to be finally changing attitudes (F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999, 2008, S. Poon in litt. 1998). Much of the present range is within forest reserves and state forests, but the laws protecting both species and areas are generally not enforced. Matura National Park protects a large area of suitable forest but there is limited law enforcement at the site. There are plans to use radio-telemetry to learn more about the species' biology (R. Ffrench in litt. 1998, Hayes et al. 2009, F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999, 2008), and genetic studies are ongoing (Naranjit 2010). Species-specific ecotourism is having a positive effect in the Grande Riviere, providing financial support for local communities and developing a sense of collective responsibility (R. Ffrench in litt. 1998). A recent questionnaire survey supported the idea that ecotourism was boosting awareness and attitudes towards conserving wildlife, although hunting behaviour remains unchanged (Waylen et al. 2009).  The species is held in captivity (P. McGowan in litt. 2013) and the Pawi Study Group may begin a captive breeding programme in the future (S. Poon in litt. 1998). A two-year field study of the ecology and behaviour of the species was recently completed (Naranjit 2010).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey areas of historic occurrence to determine its status in these areas. Determine ecological requirements and breeding biology through radio telemetry (Nelson et al. 2011). Develop a participatory monitoring program which engages with local communities and provides abundance and distribution data. Enforce the protection of current forest reserves. Formally establish the Matura National Park. Develop further education/public awareness campaigns, in particular working with hunters, to ensure the success of site protection. Investigate the potential risk to the remaining population from disease/parasites (Hirschfeld 2008). Assess feasibility of captive breeding and begin a programme if appropriate (Hirschfeld 2008, Nelson et al. 2011). Review national legislation to identify gaps in protection or conflicts with conservation of the species (Nelson et al. 2011).

Citation: BirdLife International 2013. Pipile pipile. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 28 August 2015.
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