Family Guans, Chachalacas, Curassows (Cracidae)

Least Concern

Marail Guan (Penelope marail)


French: Pénélope marail German: Marailguan Spanish: Pava marail

Phasianus Marail

Statius Müller

, 1776,



May be closely related to P. superciliaris; seems to be close also to P. ortoni. Has hybridized with P. purpurascens and P. pileata in captivity. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. m. marail (Statius Müller, 1776) – E Venezuela S of R Orinoco and the Guianas.
  • P. m. jacupeba Spix, 1825 – N Brazil N of R Amazon (E of R Branco); SE Venezuela often said to form part of this subspecies’ range, but no evidence for this#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    63–68 cm; male 772–1310 g, female 770–1450 g. Male apparently larger than female, based on mean mass. Has greenish-olive gloss on back, wings and central... read more


    Wing-whirring displays each lasting c. 5 seconds (3–4 per day) are typically given entirely... read more


    Heavy tropical forest, especially near water, near coast or inland; less often in second growth.... read more

    Food and feeding

    Almost exclusively fruit. Diet well studied in French Guiana; quite selective, with only 24 species of plant recorded, and four (... read more


    Laying Oct–Nov in French Guiana, with chicks recorded from Nov; in Surinam eggs recorded Dec–Feb and well-grown chicks observed... read more


    Few data available, but presumably sedentary and a study in Surinam revealed that three separate... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total population estimated at c. 150,000 individuals. Hunting pressure is probably greater concern than habitat destruction over most... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Marail Guan (Penelope marail). 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 7 December 2019).