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White-winged Guan Penelope albipennis
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This species qualifies as Critically Endangered because it has an extremely small population with a severely fragmented distribution. Awareness campaigns directed at local people, further surveys and concerted conservation action (the beginnings of which are apparent) appear to be improving its status such that the population may have ceased to decline. If this is confirmed, the species may warrant downlisting in the future.

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: #

85 cm. Medium-sized, black cracid with white primaries. Whitish flecking on neck, upper breast and wing-coverts. Extensive, bare orange-red or purple throat and double-lobed dewlap. Blue bill with black tip. Purple facial skin around eye. Voice Very deep, hoarse och..och...och, especially at dawn and during breeding season. The call is a sharp cau....cau....cau that can be heard from up to 3 kilometres away.

Distribution and population
Penelope albipennis survives in Lambayeque, Piura (Díaz-Montes and del Solar-Rojas 1997) and Cajamarca departments in north-west Peru. Historically, the species was probably well distributed across the Tumbesian dry forest (Angulo and Barrio 2004). More recent surveys have found guans in 22 localities in a band 200 km long with an average of 1 individual/10 km (Díaz-Montes and del Solar-Rojas 1997, Angulo verbally to the Neotropical Ornithological Congress 2007). It was initially discovered in Tumbes in 1876, but there have been no subsequent records there (Díaz-Montes and del Solar-Rojas 1997, J. Flanagan in litt. 2000). An isolated population of "a guan with white in its wings" exists in the upper Marañon valley (Mark 2011). The population is estimated to number 150-250 individuals, comprising a northern and southern population separated by up to 30 km (Angulo 2008, F. Angulo in litt. 2009, 2010). A captive-breeding programme is underway, comprising 70 birds in 2007 (F. Angulo in litt. 2009, 2010). Individuals have been reintroduced to several areas, however a population of c. 50 individuals in the Chaparri Private Conservation Area may not be sustainable as it occurs in habitat which may not be suitable for the species, thus the population may require ongoing management to survive (Alcalde et al. 2009, F. Angulo in litt. 2012).

Population justification
The number of birds recorded in 2008 was 135 individuals. However the complete range was not surveyed, and not all birds will have been counted. A recent estimate places the population nearer to 250 individuals (Angulo and Diaz-Montes 2012) hence a population of 150-249 individuals, roughly equivalent to 100-170 mature individuals, seems appropriate.

Trend justification
Analysis of survey data suggests that the population size has been stable for the last 15 years (F. Angulo in litt. 2010). Threats remain, particularly hunting and habitat loss, but their impact is lower following awareness and education campaigns. Precautionarily, the suspicion of a population decline is retained at present but confirmation that numbers are stable may lead to the species's downlisting in the future.

It inhabits dry wooded slopes and ravines at elevations of 300-1,300 m, and may have formerly occurred in lowland carob (Prosopis spp.) forest. It favours valleys with small permanent streams or waterholes, and dry deciduous forest with dense cover and little human disturbance. It inhabits valleys and riparian gallery forests in the dry season and surrounding hillsides during the wet season (Bouffard and Brooks 2014). It feeds on fruit, flowers, leaves, buds and seeds. The species is known to consume parts of the following plants: Bursera graveleolens, Cestrum auriculatum, Cordia lutea, Fuchsia sp., Ludwigia sp., Psisium sp., Muntingia calbaura, Pithecelobium sp., Quararibea cordata, Solanum betaceum and Swartzia obscura (Bouffard and Brooks 2014). It disperses seeds of Cordia lutea (Bouffard and Brooks 2014). It has been observed in agricultural land, feeding on the leaves of maize, beans and sweet potatoes, and the fruit of coffee plants (Ortiz-Tejada and Díaz-Montes 1997). Eriotheca ruizii has been identified as a key plant species for foraging and cover, present at the majority of sites that hold the guan (Servan and Angulo 2006). Breeding occurs in January-August, and two or three eggs are laid (Ortiz-Tejada and Díaz-Montes 1997).

It declined partly as a result of overhunting, which remains a threat (Angulo 2008) and has hampered reintroduction efforts. Habitat destruction, through clearance for agriculture and cutting for timber, artisanal woodcrafts, charcoal and firewood, is another serious threat, but the species seems to tolerate some habitat modification (Angulo verbally to the Neotropical Ornithological Congress 2007, Angulo 2008). Mining concessions were granted in the northern part of the species's range in 2008. Should minerals be found and exploited suitable habitat will no doubt be destroyed (F. Angulo in litt. 2009, 2010).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I. A national conservation strategy has been devised for the species (Angulo 2005, Angulo 2006). The species and its habitat are legally protected in the Laquipampa Wildlife Refuge, which was established specifically to protect the guan, and supports 22 individuals as well as 8 re-introduced adults, four of which have bred, and the species appears to be reasonably secure at this site (Angulo verbally to the Neotropical Ornithological Congress 2007, F. Angulo in litt. 2009, 2010). The Chaparri Private Conservation Area nominated by Santa Catalina village community also supports a successfully reintroduced population, with c.54 individuals currently present, including 9 breeding pairs (F. Angulo in litt. 2009, 2010). Two new Regional Conservation Areas were created in 2011, Bosque Moyán - Palacios and Bosques Secos de Salitral - Huarmaca, and together these incorporate an area of 373 km2 (Angulo and Diaz-Montes 2012). There has been a training workshop for park guards involving members of the Laquipampa and Santa Catalina communities (Flanagan and Williams 2001). Reintroductions have contributed 69 individuals to the current wild population, with successful breeding by captive-raised parents recorded (Angulo 2004, Angulo 2011). Efforts are continuing to identify additional sites across its former range to host reintroductions. El Angolo Hunting Reserve was identified in 2004 as a suitable reintroduction site capable of holding c.6 pairs owing to its favourable protection status and floristic composition (Angulo and Barrio 2004). It lies near the centre of the guan's projected former range (Angulo and Barrio 2004). Surveys have been conducted over a wide area of north-west Peru (Díaz-Montes and del Solar-Rojas 1997). An education/awareness raising campaign has been designed and was implemented in 2008, 2009 and 2010 including an information message broadcast on local radio, and resulted in a 30% increase in knowledge of the species among local people (Angulo 2011, BirdLife International unpublished data 2011). Local people provide a level of protection for a site known as 'Limon', stimulated by ecotourism, which holds 25 individuals. A local NGO is working towards formal protection for the site (Angulo 2011).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor natural and reintroduced populations (Pautrat et al. 2000). Continue and expand local awareness campaigns and monitor the impact of these campaigns on both the populations and the targeted communities (Ortiz-Tejada and O'Neill 1997, Flanagan and Williams 2001, Angulo 2011). Continue to develop dry forest sustainable use strategies such as eco-tourism or apiculture  (Flanagan and Williams 2001, F. Angulo in litt. 2012). Establish a studbook for the species, so that breeders of captive individuals can ensure that a long-term viable captive population is maintained, and research the genetic status of both captive and wild White-winged Guan populations (F. Angulo in litt. 2012). Create a protected area north of the species's known distribution (Angulo et al. 2006). Involve local communities in the conservation strategy for the species (Angulo et al. 2006). Establish the identity of the isolated population of guans in the upper Marañon valley (Mark 2011).

Alcalde, M.; Reynel C.; Angulo, F. 2009. Vegetación de la Quebrada Pavas (Lambayeque, Perú) para reintroducción de Penelope albipennis. Zonas Aridas 12(1): 60-73.

Angulo P., F. (Editor). 2005. Estrategia de conservación de la Pava Aliblanca (Penelope albipennis) en el núcleo sur de distribución: Salas - Laquipampa - Chongoyape. Asociacion Cracidae Perú. , Chiclayo, Perú.

Angulo P., F. (Editor). 2006. Estrategia de conservación de la Pava Aliblanca (Penelope albipennis) en el núcleo sur de distribución: Olmos - Salitral - Huarmaca. Asociacion Cracidae Perú, Chiclayo, Perú.

Angulo Pratolongo, F., Diaz, V. R., Williams and L. Cancino. 2006. White-winged Guan (Penelope albipennis). In: Brooks, M. D. (ed.), Conserving Cracids: the most Threatened Family of Birds in the Americas, pp. 29-31. Misc. Publ. Houston Mus. Nat. Sci., No. 6, Houston, TX, USA.

Angulo, F. 2008. Current status and conservation of wild and reintroduced White-winged Guan (Penelope albipennis) populations. Ornitologia Neotropical 19: 279-286.

Angulo, F. 2011. The rediscovery of the century: the guan with the white wings. Neotropical Birding 9: 37-43.

Angulo, F. and Diaz-Montes, V.R. 2012. New protected areas for the Critically Endangered white-winged guan. World Pheasant Association News 89: 14.

Angulo, F.; Barrio, J. 2004. Evaluation of a potential reintroduction site for the white-winged guan Penelope albipennis (Aves, Cracidae) in northern Peru. Oryx 38: 448-451.

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.

Bouffard, L.A. and Brooks, D.M. 2014. The role of the White-winged Guan (Penelope albipennis) in seed dispersal and predation in Tumbesian dry forest, Peru. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 33: 184-194.

Collar, N. J.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2013. Conservation breeding and avian diversity: chances and challenges. International Zoo Yearbook.

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.

Díaz-Montes, V. R.; del Solar-Rojas, G. 1997. Resultados parciales del plan integral para salvar a la Pava Aliblanca (Penelope albipennis). In: Strahl, S.D.; Beaujon, D.; Brooks, D.M.; Begazo, A.J.; Sedaghatkish, G.; Olmos, F. (ed.), The Cracidae: their biology and conservation, pp. 467-471. Hancock House Publishers, Surrey, Canada.

Flanagan, J. N. M.; Williams, R. S. R. 2001. A training program for the conservation of the White-winged Guan (Penelope albipennis) in northern Peru. In: Brooks, D.M.; Gonzalex-F, F. (ed.), Biology and conservation of Cracids in the new millenium, pp. 139-146. Misc. Publ. Houston Mus. Nat. Sci. No.2.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Lowen, J. 2002. Neotropical Bird Club Conservation Awards. Cotinga 17: 4-6.

Ortiz-Tejada, E.; O'Neill, J. P. 1997. Situación actual de la familia Cracidae en Perú. In: Strahl, S.D.; Beaujon, D.; Brooks, D.M.; Begazo, A.J.; Sedaghatkish, G.; Olmos, F. (ed.), The Cracidae: their biology and conservation, pp. 361-374. Hancock House Publishers, Surrey, Canada and Blaine, USA.

Pautrat, L.; de Solar, G.; Brightsmith, D. 2000. Reintroduction of the White-winged Guan Penelope albipennis in the community of Santa Catalina de Chongoyape, Lambayeque, NW Peru.

Serván M. A.; Angulo P. F. 2006. Caracterización Florística y Análisis de Diversidad en el área de distribución de la Pava Aliblanca (Penelope albipennis Taczanowski).

Williams, R. 2004. White-winged guan Penelope albipennis reintroduction programme in the Chaparri Private Reserve Area. Report of activities and progress: November 2003 - April 2004.

Further web sources of information
Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This species has been identified as an AZE trigger due to its IUCN Red List status and limited range.

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., Bird, J., Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Isherwood, I., Stuart, T., Keane, A., Sharpe, C J, Butchart, S. & Martin, R

Angulo Pratolongo, F. & Flanagan, J.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Penelope albipennis. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

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 - White-winged guan (Penelope albipennis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Critically Endangered
Family Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, Curassows)
Species name author Taczanowski, 1878
Population size 100-170 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 3,100 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species