Family Guans, Chachalacas, Curassows (Cracidae)

Least Concern

Dusky-legged Guan (Penelope obscura)


French: Pénélope yacouhou German: Bronzeguan Spanish: Pava oscura

Penelope obscura


, 1815,

Paraguay, ex Azara


Closely related to P. jacquacu, P. purpurascens, P. perspicax and P. albipennis. Has been considered conspecific with P. jacquacu, but tracheal morphology is different. Plumage differences among races suggest that more than one species may be involved; moreover, bridgesi differs vocally from the other two, and it has been suggested that it should be treated as a separate species#R. Potential contact between nominate and bronzina in S Brazil and possibly also extreme NE Argentina requires detailed study, but a recent morphological study has suggested that the latter cannot be recognized#R. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. o. bronzina Hellmayr, 1914 – E Brazil (E Minas Gerais S to Santa Catarina; recorded also in S Bahia#R); perhaps NE Argentina (Misiones).
  • P. o. obscura Temminck, 1815 – Dusky-legged Guan – SE Paraguay#R, NE Argentina (NE Buenos Aires, SE Entre Ríos, SC Corrientes; records from Misiones may refer to bronzina), Uruguay and extreme S Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul, but perhaps also in Santa Catarina and Paraná)#R.
  • P. o. bridgesi G. R. Gray, 1860 – Bridges's Guan – C Bolivia (Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Chuquisaca and Tarija) S on E slope of Andes to NW Argentina (Jujuy, Salta, Tucumán and Catamarca)#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    68–75 cm; 960–2100 g. Only member of genus with dark legs; overall plumage and bare facial skin also dark. Sexes alike, except that iris is red in male, pale... read more


    Vocalizations best described for races bridgesi and bronzina: latter gives loud,... read more


    Tall forest, gallery forest (to which race obscura is closely tied), small river islands... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits, including those of Eugenia uruguayensis (Myrtaceae), Citharexylum montevidense (Verbenaceae), Rapanea... read more


    In NW Argentina season mainly Oct–Dec; nest with eggs in late Oct and chicks in early Jan–Mar (bridgesi); in Brazil,... read more


    Presumably largely sedentary, but in NW Argentina (bridgesi) may use of different... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Race bronzina has declined drastically in state of São Paulo and is considered threatened in Minas Gerais, both... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Dusky-legged Guan (Penelope obscura). 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 24 February 2020).