Pipile pipile 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Galliformes Cracidae

Scientific Name: Pipile pipile (Jacquin, 1784)
Common Name(s):
English Trinidad Piping-guan, Common Piping Guan, Trinidad Piping-Guan, Trinidad White-headed Curassow, Trinidad White-headed Piping Guan
Spanish Pava de Trinidad, Pava Rajadora, Yacutinga Cariazul
Aburria pipile ssp. pipile (Jacquin, 1784) — Stotz et al. (1996)
Taxonomic Source(s): SACC. 2005 and updates. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
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: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
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, Wheatley, H.
This species has been extirpated from several areas. It is listed as Critically Endangered because the population is now extremely small and is assumed to be decreasing because of continuing illegal hunting and habitat loss. There is some evidence to suggest that the population may now be growing and if further evidence confirms this then the species may be downlisted in the future.

Previously published Red List assessments:

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 probably extinct in the Trinity Hills, where surveys have failed to find the species since 1994, although there is one credible report from Victoria Mayaro reserve in 2000, suggesting that a few may persist (Hayes et al. 2009; Nelson et al. 2011). The species is probably extinct in central Trinidad, where it has not been reported since 1983 (Hayes et al. 2009; Nelson et al. 2011).  The only confirmed extant population is in the eastern portion of the Northern Range, where 150-350 km2 of suitable habitat remains (Hayes et al. 2009). The population is estimated at 77-231 individuals and unlikely to exceed 200 in total (Hayes et al. 2009). There is no data for population trends, but the species's range has declined historically due to hunting and habitat loss and the population is still assumed to be declining. Recent observations of the species in areas where it had not been reported within the past century suggest that the population may now be growing (Hayes et al. 2009), but more evidence is required to confirm this.
Countries occurrence:
Trinidad and Tobago
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:2000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:1-5Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:NoLower 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 77-231 individuals, with a total population unlikely to exceed 200, based on population density estimates derived from surveys carried out in selected areas of the species's range (Hayes et al 2009). The population size is therefore 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:50-249Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:1-2Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:Unknown
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation:90-100

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).

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

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is threatened by hunting for subsistence and sport (Hayes et al. 2009).

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 has declined in recent decades, at least in the Northern Range, probably as a result of public education campaigns (Hayes et al. 2009), but hunting in Grande Riviere remains (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 have been conservation and education campaigns since the 1980s, which appear to have changed attitudes (F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999, 2008; S. Poon in litt. 1998; Hayes et al. 2009). 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 was declared an Environmentally Sensitive Area in 2004 and 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's 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, Grass et al 2016). 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).

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).

Amended [top]

Amended reason: Updated range description, population size and justification, threats, population trends, assessment justification and references. Edited map and changed presence for central and most of south Trinidad from possibly extant to probably extinct. Updated EOO.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2017. Pipile pipile (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22678401A117190788. . Downloaded on 21 April 2018.
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