Family Guans, Chachalacas, Curassows (Cracidae)


White-winged Guan (Penelope albipennis)


French: Pénélope à ailes blanches German: Weißschwingenguan Spanish: Pava aliblanca

Penelope albipennis


, 1878,

near Tumbes, Peru; type from Santa Lucía


Closely related to P. jacquacu, P. purpurascens, P. perspicax and P. obscura; probably closest to P. purpurascens or P. jacquacu. Validity as a species questioned in the past, with suggestions that it had been described from a partially albinistic specimen of P. ortoni or P. purpurascens, or that it constituted a morph or variant of one of these species; specific status now warranted#R. Monotypic.


Extreme NW Peru: recent records only from Piura, Lambayeque and Cajamarca; historically, occurred also in Tumbes, where some populations may persist. Original range supposed to extend N to near border with Ecuador, and S to R Chicama, in La Libertad. May also be present in large swampy area bordering Gulf of Guayaquil, in SW Ecuador.

Descriptive notes

c. 70–85 cm; c. 1750 g. Only Penelope with white primaries (the eight outermost), though easily visible only in flight, and bright blue bill with blackish tip... read more


Wing-whirring displays noted around dawn. What is generally described as the song is a very deep,... read more


Localities currently known to be occupied are on slopes and ravines covered with dry deciduous... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly plant matter of different kinds, varying throughout year according to cycles of species consumed; up to 48 different species of... read more


Season Jan–Aug. One nest with eggs found in May in Lambayeque, and one old record of chicks in Jan in coastal Tumbes. First confirmed... read more


Mainly sedentary, but some local movements known. Thought to be merely vagrant in at least four of... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. Presumed extinct shortly after its discovery in 1876 and for a whole century thereafter, until rediscovered in 1977. Recent records from some 22 localities, of... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). White-winged Guan (Penelope albipennis). 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 20 February 2020).