Red-faced Guan Penelope dabbenei


Justification of Red List Category
Although this species may have a restricted range, it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as generally scarce, although locally common in Argentina. The population in Chuquisaca, Bolivia, is estimated as 3,000 individuals (del Hoyo et al. 1994).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of hunting.

Distribution and population

This species is found in the East Andes of south Bolivia (south Santa Cruz, Chuquisaca and Tarija) and north-west Argentina (Jujuy and Salta) (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1994, Strahl et al. 1994, Stotz et al. 1996). Recent surveys estimated the population in Montes Chapeados, Chuquisaca, at 6,000 adults, with a similar sized population projected to occur in the Río Pilcomayo area, Chuquisaca (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1994, Fjeldså and Mayer 1996). Other large populations occur east of Padilla, Chuquisaca, and in Serranía Iñao, and a population was recently discovered in south Santa Cruz, extending its known range northwards (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1994, Fjeldså and Mayer 1996). In Argentina, it is locally common in Calilegua National Park, Jujuy, and Baritú National Park, Salta (Chebez et al. 1998), and intermediate records indicate these populations are possibly connected.


The species is found in large tracts of montane evergreen forest. It is particularly associated with forests of Alnus, Tabebuia and Podocarpus, at 1,500-2,500 m, and occasionally 800-2,700 m (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Strahl et al. 1994, Fjeldså and Mayer 1996, Rocha and Quiroga 1996, J. Mazar Barnett in litt. 1999).


The species is primarily threatened by hunting for food, especially outside protected areas (Strahl et al. 1994). In Argentina it suffers from the fragmentation of its habitat, with as much as 60% of Argentinian yungas forest having disappeared by the 1970s (Vervoorst 1979, Strahl et al. 1994), largely as a result of logging, conversion to agriculture and plantations of exotic pines Pinus. Road building and human colonisation have further increased habitat destruction (WWF/IUCN 1997), and a new road between Santa Victoria and Baritú, Salta, is likely to increase hunting pressure (J. Mazar Barnett in litt. 1999). A considerable reduction in its habitat has been reported in Tarija and Chuquisaca, and habitat destruction and hunting pressures appear to be quite high in Alnus-Podocarpus forests throughout its range (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Schulenberg and Awbrey 1997). However, large populations in Jujuy and Chuquisaca are considerably less threatened, owing to their inaccessibility and isolation (del Hoyo et al. 1994).


Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Harding, M.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Penelope dabbenei. Downloaded from on 24/03/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/03/2023.