Family Guans, Chachalacas, Curassows (Cracidae)


Cauca Guan (Penelope perspicax)


French: Pénélope de Cauca German: Caucaguan Spanish: Pava del Cauca

Penelope perspicax


, 1911,

San Luis, Bitaco Valley, western Colombia


Long considered a race of either P. jacquacu or P. purpurascens. Closely related to these two and also to P. albipennis and P. obscura. Monotypic.


Scattered localities in W Colombia, on both slopes of W Andes and W slopes of C Andes; almost wholly confined to middle and upper Cauca Valley (Risaralda, Quindío, Valle del Cauca and Cauca). Much rarer on W slopes of W Andes, where seen mainly in low passes.

Descriptive notes

c. 76 cm; mean 1197 g. Back, rump, wings, belly and tail mainly rich chestnut; belly and thighs have some inconspicuous darker markings. Heavily whitish-scaled feather edges... read more


In general, like other guans, loud, raucous honking, especially during breeding season and when... read more


Humid forest in upper tropical and subtropical zones, mainly between 1200 m and 2100 m, but has... read more

Food and feeding

Mid-1990s study of diet revealed that 97·1% of feeding observations related to 13 species of fruiting plants, which in numerical... read more


Breeding apparently coincides with wet seasons and period of peak fruit abundance, suggested to be in Sept–Oct and Feb–Mar or... read more


No information available; presumably sedentary.

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. Populations largely protected, but vigilance needed. Historical range of 24,900 km² reduced to just 750 km², and this heavily fragmented. Considered not... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Cauca Guan (Penelope perspicax). 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 16 February 2020).