Chamaepetes unicolor 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Galliformes Cracidae

Scientific Name: Chamaepetes unicolor
Species Authority: Salvin, 1867
Common Name(s):
English Black Guan
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: 64 cm. Short-tailed glossy black cracid. Overall glossy black, sootier below. Bare blue facial skin with red iris. Coral red legs. Immature duller and sootier. Voice Mostly silent. In breeding season gives soft low piping calls at dawn. Also low kowr when startled and tsik tsik alarm call. Wings rattle when flying between trees. Hints Forages singly, in pairs or small groups, mostly in trees but sometimes on the ground.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Adsett, W., Angehr, G., Brooks, D. & Stiles, F.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Capper, D., Keane, A., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Taylor, J.
This species is listed as Near Threatened because it occupies a small range, in which it is threatened by hunting and limited habitat loss and degradation. The proliferation of protected areas in Costa Rica and Panama is likely to have reduced the threats to this species's habitat. However, if these threats prove to be serious, the species may be uplisted to a higher threat category.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Near Threatened (NT)
2004 Near Threatened (NT)
2000 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1994 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1988 Near Threatened (NT)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Chamaepetes unicolor is rare to locally fairly common throughout the highlands of Costa Rica and in Chiriquí, Bocas del Toro, Veraguas (Calovévora and Sante Fe) and west Coclé, west Panama (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Stiles and Skutch 1989). It is common (estimated density of 7.4 birds/km2) in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, Costa Rica (D. Brooks in litt. 2000), and large areas of suitable habitat are protected in La Amistad International Park and the Cordillera de Guanacaste (F. G. Stiles in litt. 1999). This suggests that the 1994 population estimate of 800-1,000 birds in Costa Rica (Strahl et al. 1994) is too low. In Panama, it was reported as locally common in the 1930s, uncommon and local in 1971 (del Hoyo 1994), and rare to locally fairly common (e.g. in Fortuna Forest Reserve) in the 1980s (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989). The species was found to be fairly common at Cerro Pena Blanca, west of El Cope, in 2001 (G. Angehr in litt. 2005).

Countries occurrence:
Costa Rica; Panama
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 15600
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Lower elevation limit (metres): 450
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2250
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'fairly common' (Stotz et al. (1996).

Trend Justification:  The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of exploitation.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: Unknown Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This frugivore inhabits montane cloud forest, preferring steep terrain with ridges and ravines (Wheelwright et al. 1984, Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Stiles and Skutch 1989). It typically occurs at elevations of 900-2,250 m but has been recorded to 450 m (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989). In Panama, young birds have been seen in February and June, and pairing has been observed to begin in March in Costa Rica, with both very young chicks and almost full-grown young seen in July (del Hoyo 1994). It lays 2-3 eggs (del Hoyo 1994).

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

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is much hunted for food (del Hoyo 1994). Highland forests have suffered burning, logging and conversion to intensive agriculture (Dinerstein et al. 1995), and in east Chiriquí only isolated patches of forest remain above 1,000 m (W. J. Adsett in litt. 1993). However, the extent of fragmentation is less than in lowland areas and, where not hunted for food, it persists in forest edge and secondary growth adjacent to undisturbed forest (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Strahl et al. 1994, F. G. Stiles in litt. 1999). In Panama a belt of nearly continuous forest remains along the cordillera from the Costa Rican border to just east of El Cope, although continuity may be lost in future.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
This species occurs in numerous protected areas, including private reserves.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to obtain an up-to-date total population estimate. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation across its range. Assess whether hunting is still a serious threat, and in which areas it is most severe. Protect remaining substantial tracts of cloud forest. Encourage the restoration of cloud forests, especially to link remaining fragments.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Chamaepetes unicolor. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22678443A38110720. . Downloaded on 28 November 2015.
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