Family Guans, Chachalacas, Curassows (Cracidae)

Least Concern

Band-tailed Guan (Penelope argyrotis)


French: Pénélope à queue barrée German: Bindenschwanzguan Spanish: Pava camata

Pipile argyrotis


, 1856,

Caracas, Venezuela


Closely related to P. barbata, with which has been considered conspecific. Race colombiana has been regarded as a separate species. Race albicauda sometimes merged with nominate, but appears sufficiently distinct to warrant recognition#R. Birds from W Venezuela and N Colombia, and others from N Venezuela, sometimes awarded separate races, respectively mesaeus and olivaceiceps#R, but differences generally reckoned too slight. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. a. albicauda Phelps, Sr & Gilliard, 1940 – Sierra de Perijá, in N Colombia and NW Venezuela.
  • P. a. colombiana Todd, 1912 – Santa Marta Mts, in N Colombia.
  • P. a. argyrotis (Bonaparte, 1856) – E Andes in N Colombia and W Venezuela, and Coastal Range of Venezuela (E as far as N Monagas).
  • Descriptive notes

    50–61 cm; male 686–981 g, female 625–900 g. Present species and P. barbata are only members of genus with tail feathers not uniformly coloured, as... read more


    Generally considered to be rather silent, except in Feb–Apr during territory establishment... read more


    Dense forests in subtropical and upper tropical zones; prefers wet, virgin forest, but at times... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits, particularly pulpy ones, e.g. those of laurel and guarumo (Cecropia) trees; hard seeds are regurgitated. Occasionally... read more


    In Venezuela groups begin to break up, and territories to be established, in Jan; nests Feb–Apr, even May, with torrential rains... read more


    No information available, but presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common in many areas. Uncommon to fairly common, but infrequently seen, in Colombia, where threatened by deforestation in... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Band-tailed Guan (Penelope argyrotis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 28 February 2020).