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Bearded Guan Penelope barbata
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has a small and severely fragmented range, which is continuing to decline as a result of habitat loss and hunting. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

55 cm. Small, mostly brown cracid. Dark greyish-brown upperparts and rear underparts, except silvered crown and neck feathers. Duller wings. Ill-defined rufous terminal band to tail. Lower neck and breast extensively edged whitish. Red legs and dewlap. Similar spp. Most closely resembles Band-tailed Guan P. argyrotis, from which it differs in lacking conspicuous white upperwing-covert markings, its fully feathered chin and upper throat and partially feathered tarsus. Andean Guan P. montagnii is also similar but lacks a terminal band on the tail.

Distribution and population
Penelope barbata has a relatively restricted range in south Ecuador (Azuay, El Oro, Loja) and northwest Peru in Piura (Huancabamba, Ayabaca, including Aypate, El Toldo, Bosque de Cuyas and Cerro Huamingas, Maray [Flanagan et al. 2000] and Cerro Chinguela [Begazo and Valqui 2000]), Lambayeque (Laquipampa Wildlife refuge [Angulo and Aleman 2006]) and Cajamarca (Saña valley, Tabaconas-Namballe National Sanctuary [Amanzo et al. 2003]) departments. (Piura, Lambayeque, Cajamarca, Ayabaca, Huancabamba and Ferrenafe). Suitable habitat within its range is estimated at 2,637 km2 in Ecuador (Krabbe et al. 1998), and probably a larger area in Peru. In 1989, the population in Ecuador was estimated at c.3,000 individuals (1,000-6,000) occurring at c.2-4 birds/km2, although surveys have produced much higher density estimates in the Cordillera de Chilla (Jacobs and Walker 1999), and recently at two sites in Loja province where 33 birds/km2 were recorded at Cajanuma (a relatively well-protected area) and 17 birds/km2 were estimated at Curishiro (a mining area) (Medina et al. 1994). Montane forest in Podocarpus National Park possibly holds up to 1,000 pairs (I. Franke per J. Fjeldså in litt. 1999). Since 1989, other populations have been found in Ecuador, notably on Lomo Angashcola, Loma del Oro, Mamanunga and Santiago; Loja (Wege and Long 1995, Best et al. 1996, Flanagan et al. 2000). In Peru the species it is relatively common in the upper Saña valley, Cajamarca (I. Franke per J. Fjeldså in litt. 1999), and has recently been discovered at several sites in Ayabaca and Cajamarca (J. P. O'Neill in litt. 1999). It has also been found in “La Palizada” at 3100 m in upper Chancay Valley and in several localities along the east side of the western cordillera in Lambayeque and Cajamarca, between Kañaris and Boque de Proteccion Pagaibamba (F. Angulo in litt. 2012).

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
A slow and on-going decline is suspected on the basis of habitat destruction and degradation, which is being compounded by hunting pressure.

This large frugivore inhabits humid montane forest and cloud-forest at 1,500-3,200 m, and regularly to 1,200 m in Lambayeque. It is usually seen in pairs, or small groups of up to six. Its breeding ecology is poorly known, but adults with chicks have been recorded in February-July (Angulo and Aleman 2006), and juveniles have been observed on May, June and August in Bosque de Cuyas, Ayabaca (N. Krabbe in litt. 2007). A nest found in Laquipampa was situated in gallery forest in a tree c3 m above ground (F. Angulo in litt. 2007). It feeds on many plant species, especially Ficus spp. on Laquipampa (F. Angulo in litt. 2007) and a recent study found that its diet consists largely of fruits from the families Lauraceae (39%), Myrtaceae (20.3%) and Meliaceae (14%) (Gomez 2006).

The main threat to the species is ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation due to clearance for pasture, agriculture and increased mining activity, both legal and illegal. Legal mining is particularly a threat in Peru, with many concessions having been granted throughout the species range. Several of these legal concessions will impact protected areas including Tabaconas-Namballe National Sanctuary. Within Podocarpus National Park illegal gold mining and forest clearance by colonists take place within the park boundary, although large areas of undisturbed forest remain (Wege and Long 1995). Hunting may be a threat in key areas such as Loma Angashcola and Podocarpus National Park (Wege and Long 1995), and in Peru (feathers of two hunted birds were found at Salas in 2004 [F. Angulo in litt. 2007]) . The expansion of mining in the region and the creation of new roads improve access and may locally increase hunting. Habitat destruction is also fragmenting the species range and promoting long-term isolation of small, non-viable populations.

Conservation Actions Underway
It is protected by law in Peru and Ecuador. It is protected within Podocarpus National Park, Tapichalaca Reserve, Huashapamba Forest Reserve, Bosque Protector Colambo-Yacuri and Angashcola Community Reserve in Ecuador; and Laquipampa Wildlife refuge (ex-Zona Reservada) (J. Flanagan in litt. 2001, F. Angulo in litt. 2012), Tabaconas-Namballe National Sanctuary, Piura/Cajamarca (J. P. O'Neill in litt. 1999) and Bosque de Protección Pagaibamba (F. Angulo in litt. 2007) in Peru. Conservation Actions Proposed
Research habitat requirements and basic natural history (F. Angulo in litt. 2012). Encourage the protection of more forested areas in the Andes of southern Ecuador and northern Peru. Support the establishment of private reserves like Tapichalaca. Ensure adequate protection of Podocarpus National Park and increase capacity and infrastructure for park staff. Support the reserves of Angashcola and Huashapamba (Ecuador), expand protected habitat network in montane areas of Lambayeque, Piura and Cajamarca, including the "Cerro Chinguela" area. Implement proposals that help support communities to establish private reserves, such as the reserve at "Bosque de Cuyas". Ayabaca and increase capacity and infrastructure for Park Staff at Laquipampa (Peru). Determine the effect of hunting on the population (F. Angulo in litt. 2012). Campaigns to stop hunting (F. Angulo in litt. 2012). Conduct educational campaigns highlighting the importance of the species for montane forests and produce a participative conservation strategy for the species, search for further sites where the species can be found and estimate its density.

Amanzo, J. R.; Acosta, C.; Aguilar, K.; Eckhardt, S.; Baldeon, S.; Pequeño, T. 2003. Evaluación biológica rápida del Santuario Nacional Tabaconas - namballe y Zonas Aledañas.

Angulo, P. F.; Williams, R. 2006. Bearded Guan (Penelope barbata). In: Brooks, D. (ed.), Conserving cracids: the most threatened family of birds in the Americas, pp. 72-74. Misc. Pub. Houston Mus. Nat. Sci.

Begazo, A.; Valqui, T. 2000. Notes on three cracid species of northern Peru and southern Ecuador. Bulletin of the IUCN/Birdlife/WPA Cracid Specialist Group 10: 9-10.

Best, B. J.; Checker, M.; Thewlis, R. M.; Best, A. L.; Duckworth, W. 1996. New bird breeding data from southwestern Ecuador. Ornitologia Neotropical 7(1): 69-73.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Flanagan, J. N. M.; Wellinga, W. P.; Mark, T. R. 2000. Seven new locations for the Bearded Guan (Penelope barbata) from south-west Ecuador and North-west Peru. Bulletin of the IUCN/Birdlife/WPA Cracid Specialist Group 11: 10-13.

Gómez, G. 2006. Hábitos alimenticios y etologia de Penelope barbata "Pava barbata" (Chapman, 1921) en el Bosque de Cuyas, Ayabaca.

Jacobs, M. D.; Walker, J. S. 1999. Density estimates of birds inhabiting fragments of cloud forest in southern Ecuador. Bird Conservation International 9: 73-79.

Krabbe, N.; Skov, F.; Fjeldså, J.; Petersen, I. K. 1998. Avian diversity in the Ecuadorian Andes - an atlas of distribution of Andean forest birds and conservation priorities. Centre for Research on Cultural and Biological Diversity of Andean Rainsforests (DIVA), Ronde, Denmark.

Medina, G.; Suarez, L.; Mena, P. 1994. The Bearded Guan Penelope barbata in the Podocarpus National Park, Ecuador. Cracid Newsletter 3: 1, 10.

Wege, D. C.; Long, A. J. 1995. Key Areas for threatened birds in the Neotropics. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note, taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomoía y la categoría de la Lista Roja de la UICN pudo haber cambiado desde esta publicación.

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Symes, A., Isherwood, I., Stuart, T., Harding, M., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.

Angulo Pratolongo, F., Fjeldså, J., Krabbe, N., O'Neill, J.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Penelope barbata. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Bearded guan (Penelope barbata) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, Curassows)
Species name author Chapman, 1921
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 16,500 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species