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Chamaepetes unicolor

Black Guan

  • Order: Galliformes
  • Family: Cracidae

Authors:

Chamaepetes unicolor

Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica; © Julio Gallardo

It often comes as a surprise to new visitors to the neotropics to see large, turkey-shaped birds inhabiting the canopy of the forest, as opposed to being terrestrial.  The Black Guan is one such arboreal cracid.  An endemic to the cloud forests and montane evergreen forests of the highlands of Costa Rica and Panama, the Black Guan is a distinctive and striking small guan.  The body is all black, with blue bare skin around a red eye and red legs. In the forest, this bird can be very difficult to see and is not nearly as vocal as the Crested Guan (Penelope purpurascens) of the lowlands and foothills; though it can become at least somewhat confiding if coming in to feed at fruit feeders.  The Black Guan is frugivorous, feeding on fruits and berries from the canopy and subcanopy of the forest. The Black Guan prefers intact, undisturbed forest, and is thus (inevitably) threatened by habitat loss.

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Recommended Citation

. 2010. Black Guan (Chamaepetes unicolor), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: http://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/portal/species/overview?p_p_spp=80071

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Resident (nonmigratory)
  • Primary Habitat:Montane evergreen forest
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  • IUCN Status:Near Threatened