Chamaepetes unicolor


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Chamaepetes unicolor
Species Authority: Salvin, 1867
Common Name(s):
English Black Guan

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.

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).

Costa Rica; Panama
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).
Population Trend: Decreasing

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

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. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 03 September 2015.
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