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White-crested Guan Penelope pileata
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Based on a model of future deforestation in the Amazon basin, and its sensitivity to hunting, fragmentation and disturbance, it is suspected that the population of this species will decline rapidly over the next three generations, and it has therefore been uplisted to 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: #

Distribution and population
Penelope pileata occurs exclusively in dense lowland humid forest south of the Amazon, from lower rio Madeira to the rio Xingú (Gorotire and Altamira), as far as east Pará (Ourém and Serra dos Carajas) and Maranhão (rio Grajaú, and the Mearim-Pindare river system), in north-central Brazil (Sick 1993, Roth 1997, J. F. Pacheco in litt. 1999, F. Olmos in litt. 1999). Surveys in the late 1980s and early 1990s almost doubled the known range of this species, and it is relatively common in Amazônia (Tapajós) National Park, but scarce around Santarém, Pará (Sick 1993, del Hoyo 1994, Strahl et al. 1994). However, the total population is not considered to be large, and forest destruction has been fairly widespread, especially in Maranhão and Pará (Cleary 1991, Strahl et al. 1994, F. Olmos in litt. 1999).

Population justification
The population is preliminarily estimated to number at least 10,000 individuals, roughly equating to 6,700 mature individuals. This requires confirmation.

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 41.5-45.3% of suitable habitat within its distribution over three generations (10 years) based on a model of Amazonian deforestation (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). It is therefore suspected to decline by 30-49% over three generations.

It is apparently restricted to dense lowland forest.

Forest destruction has been fairly widespread, especially in Maranhão and Pará (Cleary 1991, Strahl et al. 1994, F. Olmos in litt. 1999), as conversion to pasture and settlement of landless agriculturists are part of government-sponsored land reform (F. Olmos in litt. 1999), and is expected to accelerate as land is cleared for cattle ranching and soy production, facilitated by expansion of the road network (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). There are additional pressures from hunting for food and its status as a prized aviary bird (Delacour and Amadon 1973, Sick 1993, Stattersfield et al. 1998). Proposed changes to the Brazilian Forest Code reduce the percentage of land a private landowner is legally required to maintain as forest (including, critically, a reduction in the width of forest buffers alongside perennial steams) and include an amnesty for landowners who deforested before July 2008 (who would subsequently be absolved of the need to reforest illegally cleared land) (Bird et al. 2011).

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in Amazônia (Tapajós) National Park. Conservation Actions Proposed
Organise campaigns to raise awareness and reduce hunting and trapping for trade. Effectively protect Amazônia (Tapajós) National Park and designate further protected areas within its lowland forest range. Monitor population trends at known sites.

Bird, J. P.; Buchanan, J. M.; Lees, A. C.; Clay, R. P.; Develey, P. F.; Yépez, I.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2011. Integrating spatially explicit habitat projections into extinction risk assessments: a reassessment of Amazonian avifauna incorporating projected deforestation. Diversity and Distributions: doi: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2011.00843.x.

Cleary, D. 1991. The Brazilian rainforest: politics, finance, mining and the environment. Economist Intelligence Unit, London.

del Hoyo, J. 1994. Cracidae (Chachalacas, Guans and Curassows). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. (ed.), Handbook of the birds of the world, pp. 310-363. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Delacour, J.; Amadon, D. 1973. Curassows and related birds. American Museum of Natural History, New York.

Roth, P. G. 1997. Aracuas, jacus e mutuns no estado do Maranhão, Brazil. In: Strahl, S.D. (ed.), The cracidae: their biology and conservation, pp. 281. Hancock House Publishers, Surrey, Canada and Blaine, USA.

Sick, H. 1993. Birds in Brazil: a natural history. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Soares-Filho, B.S.; Nepstad, D.C.; Curran, L.M.; Cerqueira, G.C.; Garcia, R. A.; Ramos, C. A.; Voll, E.; McDonald, A.; Lefebvre, P.; Schlesinger, P. 2006. Modelling conservation in the Amazon basin. Nature 440(7083): 520-523.

Stattersfield, A. J.; Crosby, M. J.; Long, A. J.; Wege, D. C. 1998. Endemic bird areas of the world: priorities for bird conservation. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Strahl, S.; Ellis, S.; Byers, O.; Plasse, C. 1994. Conservation assessment and management plan for Neotropical guans, curassows, and chachalacas. International Union for Nature Conservation and Natural Resources, Apple Valley, USA.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

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

Text account compilers
Symes, A. & Sharpe, C J

Pacheco, J. & Olmos, F.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Penelope pileata. 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-crested guan (Penelope pileata) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, Curassows)
Species name author Wagler, 1830
Population size 6700 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,050,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species