Family Guans, Chachalacas, Curassows (Cracidae)

Near Threatened

Black Guan (Chamaepetes unicolor)


French: Pénélope unicolore German: Mohrenguan Spanish: Pava negra

Chamæpetes unicolor


, 1867,

Veragua, Costa Rica


Closely related to C. goudotii. Monotypic.


Mountains of Costa Rica (S from Cordillera de Guanacaste) and W Panama (as far S as W Coclé).

Descriptive notes

62–69 cm; mean c. 1135 g. Uniform black plumage; bare blue facial skin; red eyes. Juvenile similar to adult, but less glossy and with slightly browner underparts;... read more


Display consists of loud, sharp, crackling wing-rattling noises given at dawn or dusk, or during... read more


Mountain cloudforest. Prefers steep terrain with ridges and ravines, but occasionally enters more... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly fruits, including a wide range of types and sizes; in one study at Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica, fruits of 26 species... read more


Season probably Feb–Jun throughout range. In Panama, young seen in Feb and Jun; pairing begins in Mar in Costa Rica, with very small... read more


Presumably largely sedentary, but some evidence of relatively short-distance elevational movements... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. In Costa Rica fairly common in several remote or protected areas, especially at Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Black Guan (Chamaepetes unicolor). 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 18 March 2018).