Family Guans, Chachalacas, Curassows (Cracidae)

Least Concern

Crested Guan (Penelope purpurascens)


French: Pénélope panachée German: Rostbauchguan Spanish: Pava cojolita

Penelope purpurascens


, 1830,



P. cristata is a synonym. Closely related to P. jacquacu, P. perspicax, P. albipennis and P. obscura. Has hybridized with P. marail, P. pileata and P. superciliaris in captivity. Formerly considered conspecific with P. jacquacu, but tracheal morphology is different. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. p. purpurascens Wagler, 1830 – NW & NE Mexico S to Honduras and N & C Nicaragua.
  • P. p. aequatorialis Salvadori & Festa, 1900 – S Honduras S to NW Colombia, W Ecuador and extreme N Peru (Tumbes)#R.
  • P. p. brunnescens Hellmayr & Conover, 1932 – NE Colombia (lower slopes of Santa Marta and Perijá Mts S to Boyacá) and NW & N Venezuela (E to Delta Amacuro).
  • Descriptive notes

    72–91 cm; 1620–2430 g. Largest member of genus. Has bushy crest, which is often erected, and conspicuous white fringes on foreneck and breast feathers. Juvenile... read more


    Various calls described, including dawn wing-whirring displays, although drumming flights are... read more


    Generally in humid forest and forest borders of tropical and lower subtropical zones; more often in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Berries, figs and other fruits, including those of Spondias (Anacardiaceae), Bumelia (Sapotaceae), Guatteria (... read more


    Season generally Mar–Jun in Mexico (with one nest in Oct) and in Costa Rica (where nesting commences in Feb); during wet season in... read more


    Sedentary, although some seasonal altitudinal movements may occur in mountainous regions, e.g. in W... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common in Mexico and Guatemala, especially on Caribbean slope (where range recently extended to N Yucatán Peninsula)... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Crested Guan (Penelope purpurascens). 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 19 February 2020).