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Trinidad Piping-guan Pipile pipile
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This species has been extirpated from several areas. It is listed as Critically Endangered because the population is now extremely small and decreasing because of continuing illegal hunting and habitat loss.

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: #

Aburria pipile Stotz et al. (1996)

69 cm. Medium-sized, black-and-white cracid. Mostly blackish-brown with faint purplish gloss. Extensive white tips to wing-coverts. Mainly dark crest with whitish streaking. Pale blue cere and basal part of bill. Darker blue dewlap. Red legs. Similar spp. Only cracid on Trinidad. Voice Thin piping. In display makes rattling whirr with wings.

Distribution and population
Pipile pipile is endemic to Trinidad (Trinidad and Tobago), where it was once abundant throughout the Northern Range and the southern Trinity Hills, and also occurred in lowland areas such as the Nariva Swamp and Aripo Savannas. It is now extinct in the lowlands, and almost certainly extinct in the Trinity Hills (surveys have failed to find the species since 1994, although there is one credible report from Victoria Mayaro reserve in 2000) and the western end of the Northern Range, east to the Arima-Blanchisseuse road. The only extant population is in the eastern portion of the Northern Range, where 150-350 km2 of suitable habitat remains. The population is estimated at 77-231 individuals and unlikely to exceed 200 in total (Hayes et al. 2009).

Population justification
The population has been estimated at 70-200 individuals, though it is probably closer to the higher end of this estimate (R. Ffrench in litt. 1998, F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999) and so is placed in the band 50-249 mature individuals.

Trend justification
This species's population has declined in line with levels of hunting, habitat loss and habitat degradation within its range. The tiny remaining population is not well protected and declines are assumed to be continuing.

It feeds in the canopy of remote lower and upper montane rainforest, preferring steep, hilly areas with numerous streams, sparse ground-cover, a closed canopy and abundant lianas and epiphytes (F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999, 2008), and is known from elevations of 10-925 m (Hayes et al. 2009, F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999, 2008). It is known from secondary vegetation and cultivated land near to primary forest, and formerly occurred in semi-evergreen forest (R. Ffrench in litt. 1998, F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999, 2008); it seems to tolerate humans as long as canopy trees are available and it is not hunted (F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999, 2008). The species can thrive when hunting pressure is reduced and canopy trees are left intact within small-scale agricultural plantations: these are the two main requisites for conservation (Hayes et al. 2009). Very little is known about its breeding, but breeding seems to take place in most months and two eggs are laid. It feeds mainly on fruits, but also eats flowers and leaves (F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999, 2008).

Illegal hunting and, to a lesser extent, habitat destruction through timber extraction and conversion to plantation agriculture are the chief causes of this species's decline (F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999, 2008). The threat from hunting in Grande Riviere remains despite ecotourism boosting general awareness for conservation issues (Waylen et al. 2009). It does not appear to be overly susceptible to human disturbance per se (Alexander 2002, Hayes et al. 2009).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I. It has been legally protected since 1963. There were conservation and education campaigns in the 1980s, but new initiatives in 1997-1998 appear to be finally changing attitudes (F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999, 2008, S. Poon in litt. 1998). Much of the present range is within forest reserves and state forests, but the laws protecting both species and areas are generally not enforced. Matura National Park protects a large area of suitable forest but there is limited law enforcement at the site. There are plans to use radio-telemetry to learn more about the species' biology (R. Ffrench in litt. 1998, Hayes et al. 2009, F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999, 2008), and genetic studies are ongoing (Naranjit 2010). Species-specific ecotourism is having a positive effect in the Grande Riviere, providing financial support for local communities and developing a sense of collective responsibility (R. Ffrench in litt. 1998). A recent questionnaire survey supported the idea that ecotourism was boosting awareness and attitudes towards conserving wildlife, although hunting behaviour remains unchanged (Waylen et al. 2009).  The species is held in captivity (P. McGowan in litt. 2013) and the Pawi Study Group may begin a captive breeding programme in the future (S. Poon in litt. 1998). A two-year field study of the ecology and behaviour of the species was recently completed (Naranjit 2010). Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey areas of historic occurrence to determine its status in these areas. Determine ecological requirements and breeding biology through radio telemetry (Nelson et al. 2011). Develop a participatory monitoring program which engages with local communities and provides abundance and distribution data. Enforce the protection of current forest reserves. Formally establish the Matura National Park. Develop further education/public awareness campaigns, in particular working with hunters, to ensure the success of site protection. Investigate the potential risk to the remaining population from disease/parasites (Hirschfeld 2008). Assess feasibility of captive breeding and begin a programme if appropriate (Hirschfeld 2008, Nelson et al. 2011). Review national legislation to identify gaps in protection or conflicts with conservation of the species (Nelson et al. 2011).

Alexander, G. D. 2002. Observations of the Endangered Trinidad Piping-Guan (Pipile pipile), or Pawi, in Northern Trinidad. In: F. E. hayes and S. A. Temple (eds), Studies in Trinidad and Tobago Ornithology Honouring Richard Ffrench, pp. 119-130. Dept. Life Sci., Univ. West Indies, St. Augustine.

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.

Hayes, F. E.; Sanasie, B; Samad, I. 2009. Status and conservation of the Critically Endangered Trinidad Piping-guan Aburria pipile. Endangered Species Research 7: 77-84.

Hirschfeld, E. 2008. Rare Birds Yearbook 2009: the world's 190 most threatened birds. MagDig Media Ltd., Shrewsbury, UK.

Nelson, H.P., Devenish, C., Bobb-Prescott, N., Naranjit, A., Naranjit, K. and McGowan, P.J.K. 2011. Pawi Species Recovery Strategy. World Pheasant Association and BirdLife International.

Waylen, K. A.; McGowan, P. J. K.; Pawi Study Group; Milner-Gulland, E. J. 2009. Ecotourism positively affects awareness and attitudes but not conservation behaviours: a case study at Grande Riviere, Trinidad. Oryx 43(3): 343-351.

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.

Click here for more information about the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE)

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., Butchart, S., Symes, A., Bird, J., Calvert, R., Isherwood, I., Pilgrim, J., Wege, D., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A., Butchart, S., Martin, R

James, C., Nelson, H., Ffrench, R., Hayes, F., Poon, S., White, G., McGowan, P.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Pipile pipile. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016.

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 - Trinidad piping guan (Pipile pipile) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Critically Endangered
Family Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, Curassows)
Species name author (Jacquin, 1784)
Population size 50-249 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 260 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species