The crested guan is a member of an ancient group of birds of the Cracidae family, which are related to the
Australasian mound builders. It is found in the Neotropics, in lowlands forests ranging from south Mexico
and the Yucatán Peninsula to western Ecuador and southern Venezuela. The sexes are similar in appearance;
the plumage is mainly dark brown with white spotting, an area of bare skin round the eye, bright red
wattles, a bushy crest, a long broad tail and pink legs. It is a social bird, often seen in pairs or small
family groups. It feeds in trees, mainly on fruit, and builds a nest of twigs on a branch. The two or three
white eggs are incubated by the female. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated this
bird's conservation status as "least concern".
This is a large gamebird, with a length varying from 84 to 91.5 cm (33.1 to 36.0 in). These birds commonly
weigh around 1,750 g (3.9 lb), though can weigh as little as 1,361 g (3.0 lb) in P. p. brunnescens, the
smallest race on average. Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 33 to 42.8 cm (13.0 to 16.9 in),
the tail is 34 to 41.5 cm (13.4 to 16.3 in) and the tarsus is 7.4 to 9.1 cm (2.9 to 3.6 in). It is similar
in general appearance to a turkey, with a small head, long strong red legs, and a long broad tail. It is
mainly dark brown, with white spotting on the neck and breast. The rump and belly are rufous. The head
sports a bushy crest, from which the species gets its name, blue-grey bare skin around the eye, and a bare
red dewlap or wattle. The sexes are similar, but young birds have black vermiculations and ochre specks on
the body plumage.
The crested guan is a noisy bird with a loud plee or quonk call, a whistled contact call and a powerful
keLEEEErrrr! dawn song.
The crested guan breeds in lowlands from south Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula to western Ecuador and
southern Venezuela at up to 1,850 m (6,070 ft) altitude.
The crested guan is an arboreal forest species. The substantial twig nest is built in a tree or stump and
lined with leaves. The female lays two or three large rough-shelled white eggs and incubates them alone.
This is a social bird, often seen in pairs or family groups of 6-12. It walks along branches seeking the
fruit and foliage on which it feeds, or flies off with a heavy ani-like flap and glide.
The range of this species has severely contracted outside remote or protected forests due to deforestation
and hunting, but it has a very wide range and is a relatively common species so the International Union for
Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern".
Zoológico de Vallarta A. C.
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