Family Guans, Chachalacas, Curassows (Cracidae)

Least Concern

White-bellied Chachalaca (Ortalis leucogastra)


French: Ortalide à ventre blanc German: Weißbauchguan Spanish: Chachalaca ventriblanca

Penelope leucogastra


, 1843,

no locality


Formerly considered a subspecies of O. vetula. Probably closest to O. guttata (and forms traditionally lumped with it), O. motmot and O. superciliaris. In N, range meets those of O. poliocephala and O. vetula, perhaps with slight overlap; no cases of hybridization known. Isolated population of nominate O. vetula in NW Costa Rica (Guanacaste) sometimes assigned to present species, but in plumage coloration and voice is closer to O. vetula than to O. leucogastra#R#R, and may represent an undescribed race of former. Monotypic.


Extreme SW Mexico (SE Chiapas), S Guatemala, El Salvador, S Honduras and NW Nicaragua.

Descriptive notes

43–50 cm; 439–560 g. Brown breast rather abruptly separated from dull white belly; facial skin dark slate. Juvenile like adult, but plumage looser and fluffier. read more


Typical of Ortalis, a gruff, burry chattering of four syllables “k-ku’uh-uh... read more


Swampy forest, swamps with coyol palm undergrowth and thick, second-growth scrub; also dry forests... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly berries and fruits, either green or ripe, especially coyol palm (Acrocomia aculeata) dates, but following species mentioned... read more


Season rather protracted, with records of eggs from Mar to Jul in Guatemala; laying recorded in Apr and May in El Salvador. One record of... read more


No information available, but presumably sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Still common to locally abundant in much of range; often seen near villages. Has lost habitat through conversion to pastures,... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). White-bellied Chachalaca (Ortalis leucogastra). 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 25 February 2020).