Highland Guan Penelopina nigra

  • Order: Galliformes
  • Family: Cracidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Knut Eisermann

Diet and Foraging


Highland Guan is mainly frugivorous, but feeds also on arthropods and vertebrates. The guan plucks fruit in all forest strata, and picks up fallen fruit from the forest floor. Following plant families and genera have been observed as food source: Actinidiaceae (Saurauia), Araceae (Anthurium), Araliaceae (Dendropanax, Oreopanax), Arecaceae (Chamaedorea), Cecropiaceae (Cecropia), Celastraceae (Celastrus), Chloranthaceae (Hedyosmum), Cornaceae (Cornus), Lauracae (Cinamommum, Licaria, Nectandra, Ocotea, Persea), Melastomataceae (Conostegia, Miconia), Moraceae (Morus, Ficus, Trophis), Myricaceae (Myrica), Myrsinaceae (Ardisia, Rapanea), Myrtaceae (Eugenia), Rhamnaceae (Rhamnus), Rosaceae (Prunus, Rubus), Rubiaceae (Coffea, Glossostipula, Hoffmannia), Solanaceae (Lycianthes, Solanum), Staphyleaceae (Turpinia), Symplocaceae (Symplocos), Theaceae (Symplocarpon), Ulmaceae (Trema), Urticaceae (Urera), Verbenaceae (Citharexylum) (Pullen 1978, Gómez de Silva et al. 1999, González-García et al. 2001; K. Eisermann, personal observations; G. López, personal communication). Highland Guan also has been observed feeding on leafs (González-García et al. 2001), and the following animal food was found in stomachs of collected specimens: mice (Rodentia), a salamander (Caudata), and a fresh water crab (Brachyura) (Rowley 1984, Delacour and Amadon 1973). Highland Guan feed presumably also on insects similar to other cracids (Wagner 1953). Wagner (1953) also reported feeding on stones and earth, presumably to support the mechanical digestion and to supply the need of minerals.

Foraging Behavior

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Recommended Citation

Eisermann, K. (2012). Highland Guan (Penelopina nigra), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.higgua1.01