Family Guans, Chachalacas, Curassows (Cracidae)


White-crested Guan (Penelope pileata)


French: Pénélope à poitrine rousse German: Weißschopfguan Spanish: Pava crestiblanca

Penelope pileata


, 1830,

state of Pará, Brazil


Closely related to P. ochrogaster and P. jacucaca, and all three once considered conspecific. Has hybridized in captivity with, at least, P. superciliaris, P. marail, P. jacucaca, P. jacquacu and P. purpurascens, and even with Crax alberti. Monotypic.


NC Brazil S of R Amazon, from lower R Madeira E to Maranhão and S to S Pará and W Tocantins.

Descriptive notes

75–82·5 cm; 1100–1600 g. Most colourful member of genus, with marked contrast between glossy dark greenish-olive on most of upperparts and rich chestnut-... read more


Only published description based on captive-bred birds; typically raucous or braying cries, given... read more


Principally found in terra firme forest in lowlands up to c. 800 m in Serra dos Caraj... read more

Food and feeding

No published information available, but has been observed feeding on corn put out for domestic chickens.


Well-grown young seen in Mar in NC Brazil. Lays four eggs in captivity, although three probably commoner; eggs laid on alternate days;... read more


No information available, but presumably sedentary.

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Population estimated at c. 10,000 individuals, but known range has been dramatically increased through recent fieldwork, having been discovered as far E as Maranh... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). White-crested Guan (Penelope pileata). 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 18 February 2020).