Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Galliformes Cracidae

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)
Taxonomic Source(s): 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. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
Identification information: 69 cm. Medium-sized, black-and-white cracid. Mostly blackish-brown with faint purplish gloss. Extensive white tips to wing-coverts. Mainly dark crest with whitish streaking. Pale blue cere and basal part of bill. Darker blue dewlap. Red legs. Similar spp. Only cracid on Trinidad. Voice Thin piping. In display makes rattling whirr with wings.

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.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2012 Critically Endangered (CR)
2010 Critically Endangered (CR)
2009 Critically Endangered (CR)
2008 Critically Endangered (CR)
2006 Critically Endangered (CR)
2004 Critically Endangered (CR)
2000 Critically Endangered (CR)
1996 Critically Endangered (CR)
1994 Critically Endangered (CR)
1988 Not Recognized (NR)

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).

Countries occurrence:
Trinidad and Tobago
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 260
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 1-5
Continuing decline in number of locations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Lower elevation limit (metres): 400
Upper elevation limit (metres): 900
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.

Trend Justification:  This species's population has declined in line with levels of hunting, habitat loss and habitat degradation within its range. The tiny remaining population is not well protected and declines are assumed to be continuing.

Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 50-249 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: Yes
No. of subpopulations: 1 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: Yes
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation: 95-99

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
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): 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 2013: e.T22678401A48015890. . Downloaded on 10 October 2015.
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