Archived 2018 topic: White-winged Guan (Penelope albipennis): revise global status?

BirdLife species factsheet for White-winged Guan:

The White-winged Guan (Penelope albipennis) survives only in Lambayeque, Piura (Díaz-Montes and del Solar-Rojas 1997) and Cajamarca departments in north-west Peru. Historically, the species was probably well distributed across the Tumbesian dry forest (Angulo and Barrio 2004). More recent surveys have found guans in 22 localities in a band 200 km long with an average of 1 individual/10 km (Díaz-Montes and del Solar-Rojas 1997, Angulo verbally to the Neotropical Ornithological Congress 2007).

The number of birds recorded in 2008 was 135 individuals. However the complete range was not surveyed, and not all birds will have been counted. A more recent estimate places the population nearer to 250 individuals (Angulo and Diaz-Montes 2012), hence the population has been estimated at 150-249 individuals, roughly equivalent to 100-170 mature individuals. Individuals have been reintroduced to several areas, however a population of c. 50 individuals in the Chaparri Private Conservation Area may not be sustainable as it occurs in habitat which may not be suitable for the species, thus the population may require ongoing management to survive (Alcalde et al. 2009, F. Angulo in litt. 2012).

Analysis of survey data suggested in 2007 that the population size had been stable for the last 15 years (F. Angulo in litt. 2010) and a 2015 article estimated the population size at 300 individuals (Angulo & Riva 2015). Threats remain, particularly hunting and habitat loss, but their impact is lower following awareness and education campaigns. A remote-sensing study found that forest cover had declined across the species’s range at a rate equivalent to 0.6% over three generation lengths (Tracewski et al. 2016). Previously, we have precautionarily retained the suspicion of a population decline, and since the species also has small and fragmented population it is currently listed as Critically Endangered under Criterion C2a(i) (see BirdLife International 2017). However, given that there now appears to have been no evidence of a population decline for at least 25 years, it may be unwarranted to retain this species as Critically Endangered under its current criteria string. Therefore, the species has been re-assessed against all criteria based on current best information.

Criterion A – Current information suggests that the species’s population size has not been decreasing for at least three generation lengths (17 years) so the species does not approach the threshold for Vulnerable under this criterion.

Criterion B – The species’s extent of occurrence (EOO) has been calculated as 4,400km2, meaning that it falls beneath the threshold for listing as Endangered under Criterion B. For a species to qualify as threatened under Criterion B, two of three conditions must also be met. The species is currently listed as severely fragmented (condition a), but it is not undergoing extreme fluctuations (condition c) and current evidence does not indicate a continuing decline in population, range or quality of habitat (condition b), so the species does not qualify for listing as Vulnerable under Criterion B.

Criterion C – Despite the species being estimated to have a very small population size, given that the population no longer appears to be decreasing, the species would not meet the threshold for Vulnerable under this criterion.

Criterion D – The population has been estimated to number up to 300 individuals, which equates to approximately 200 mature individuals. The species therefore qualifies for listing as Endangered under Criterion D.

Criterion E – To the best of our knowledge no quantitative assessment of the probability of extinction has been conducted for White-winged guan, and so it cannot be assessed against this criterion.

Therefore, it is proposed that White-winged guan be listed as Endangered under Criterion D. We welcome any comments on this proposed listing.

Please note that this topic is not designed to be a general discussion about the ecology of the species, rather a discussion of the species’s Red List status. Therefore, please make sure your comments are about the proposed listing.

An information booklet on the Red List Categories and Criteria can be downloaded here and the Red List Criteria Summary Sheet can be downloaded here. Detailed guidance on IUCN Red List terms and definitions and the application of the Red List Categories and Criteria can be downloaded here.


Alcalde, M., Reynel C. and Angulo, F. (2009) Vegetación de la Quebrada Pavas (Lambayeque, Perú) para reintroducción de Penelope albipennis. Zonas Aridas 12(1): 60-73.

Angulo, F. and Barrio, J. (2004) Evaluation of a potential reintroduction site for the white-winged guan Penelope albipennis (Aves, Cracidae) in northern Peru. Oryx 38: 448-451.

Angulo, F. and Diaz-Montes, V.R. (2012) New protected areas for the Critically Endangered white-winged guan. World Pheasant Association News 89: 14.

Angulo, F. and Riva, F. (2015) What is going on with the white-winged guan in Peru? G@llinformed 10: 9-12.

BirdLife International (2017) Species factsheet: Penelope albipennis. Downloaded from on 21/12/2017.

Díaz-Montes, V. R. and del Solar-Rojas, G. (1997) Resultados parciales del plan integral para salvar a la Pava Aliblanca (Penelope albipennis). In: Strahl, S.D., Beaujon, D., Brooks, D.M., Begazo, A.J., Sedaghatkish, G. and Olmos, F. (ed.), The Cracidae: their biology and conservation, pp. 467-471. Hancock House Publishers, Surrey, Canada.

Tracewski, Ł., Butchart, S. H. M., Di Marco, M., Ficetola, G. F., Rondinini, C., Symes, A., Wheatley, H., Beresford, A. E. and Buchanan, G. M. (2016) Toward quantification of the impact of 21st-century deforestation on the extinction risk of terrestrial vertebrates. Conservation Biology 30: 1070-1079.

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8 Responses to Archived 2018 topic: White-winged Guan (Penelope albipennis): revise global status?

  1. Fernando Angulo says:

    I have recently finished my Master’s degree dissertation entitled “Efectividad de las acciones de conservación en la recuperación de las poblaciones de la Pava Aliblanca (Penelope albipennis) en el Perú” or Effectivity of the conservation actions in the recovery of the White-winged Guan populations in Peru. I collected and systematized all the available information regarding the guan’s population and distribution area in Peru, from its description in 1877 to the present. The population size, real and potential distribution, have been determined. I also have compiled and analyzed the threats to which the species has been subjected and all conservation actions.

  2. Fernando Angulo says:

    With this information, I did an assessment of the risk of extinction according to the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and I concluded that the species could be placed in the category Endangered, instead of Critically Endangered. This conclusion is based on the population size (n = 305-414), the number of localities in which it is found (n = 62), size of the distribution area (63,646 ha) and population trend (increasing). This change in category is due to a combination of the effectiveness of conservation actions directed at the species during the last 35 years, as well as to an increase in knowledge related to its distribution and population.

    I am happy to share the complete document with Birdlife officers. I am also preparing a couple of scientific paper where I’ll publish these results.

  3. Daniel Lebbin says:

    Fernando Angulo is an expert on this species, so I am confident his comments will be taken seriously. Fernando – do any recent issues at Chaparri affect your overall assessment? I assume not.

  4. Fernando Angulo says:

    Hi Dan, thanks for the lines. As for the Chaparri population, my assessment has not included that population, since there is no reliable published information on the population numbers (I have read documents saying from 20 to 100), and since they are artificially fed, individuals are not dispersing from the site (or at least there is no evidence of that), having no contact with wild individuals. That population is acting as an island of birds, and there is no reliable connection with wild populations. So, if that whole populations disappear, even being 100, the wild population remains the same and is not affected.

  5. Fernando Angulo says:

    Another factor to be considered, is what the IUCN (2012. Categorías y Criterios de la Lista Roja de la UICN: Versión 3.1. Segunda edición. Gland, Suiza y Cambridge, Reino Unido: UICN. vi + 34pp.) says regarding reintroductions:

    En el PREÁMBULO, en la sección «Nivel taxonómico y alcance del proceso de categorización» menciona que «El proceso de categorización únicamente debería aplicarse a poblaciones silvestres dentro de su área de distribución natural, y a las poblaciones resultantes de introducciones benignas. Estas últimas se definen en las Guías para Reintroducciones de la UICN (UICN 1998) como «…un intento para establecer una especie, con el propósito de conservación, fuera de su área de distribución registrada pero dentro de un hábitat y área ecogeográfica apropiada. Ésta es una herramienta de conservación factible sólo cuando no existen áreas remanentes dentro de la distribución histórica de la especie» (IUCN 2012).

  6. Fernando Angulo says:

    So, there is published evidence that the Chaparri population is established on unsuitable habitat outside the species’ distribution (hence they need to be feed). So, IUCN recommends not to consider populations reintroduced outside the species natural distribution area and with no conservation purposes.

  7. Fernando Angulo says:

    I want to add that there are 4 protected areas overlapping with WWG distribution area: Laquipampa, Chaparri, Salitral-Huarmaca, and Moyán – Palacio. Salitral-Huarmaca protects 20.31% of the distribution (the other 3 less than 6% each), and all together, 32.8%.

    As for numbers, here the individusls (min-max) hold on every protected area: Laquipampa (20-24), Chaparri (30???-50???), Salitral-Huarmaca (126-161), and Moyán – Palacio (8). As noticed, Salitral-Huarmaca holds the biggest population.

  8. Claudia Hermes (BirdLife International) says:

    Based on available information, our preliminary proposal for the 2018 Red List would be to adopt the proposed classifications outlined in the initial forum discussion.
    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline in mid-July, after which the recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.
    Please note that we will then only post final recommended categorisations on forum discussions where these differ from those in the initial proposal.
    The final 2018 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in November, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

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