Wattled Guan Aburria aburri


Justification of Red List Category
This species qualifies as Near Threatened because it has a small population which is suspected to be declining moderately rapidly owing to habitat loss and hunting.

Population justification
The population was estimated to number 12,500-15,000 individuals in 1994, and has presumably declined since. It is now estimated at 10,000 individuals, roughly equating to 6,700 mature individuals.

Trend justification
A slow and on-going decline is suspected, owing to habitat loss and hunting pressure.

Distribution and population

Aburria aburri is found on the slopes of the north and central Andes, from north-west Venezuela (where it is now very rare [Silva 1999]) through Colombia (locally common but generally scarce) and Ecuador to southern Peru (del Hoyo 1994, Parker et al. 1996, Donegan et al. 2001); it is almost certainly extinct on the west slope of the Andes (del Hoyo 1994, Strahl et al. 1994). In most areas it is described by local hunters as extremely rare (Strahl and Brooks 2000). Its range has decreased by 50% in Venezuela (Rojas-Suárez et al. 2008), and perhaps even more in Colombia where 70% of its habitat has been lost (Ríos et al. 2006).


It inhabits wet montane forest, forest edge and and tall secondary growth adjacent to primary forest, and has been recorded at elevations of 500-2,500 m. It may undertake some seasonal altitudinal movements, but the exact nature of these is still unclear (del Hoyo 1994). It feeds on fruit, usually in pairs or groups of three. An estimate of 0.87 birds/km2 in 489 ha of the Central Cordillera of Colombia in 2002-2003 (Ríos et al. 2005) suggests the species occurs at low population densities.


Deforestation has been most prevalent in the Andes within this altitudinal range. Habitat destruction, mainly through clearance for agriculture, remains the major threat (del Hoyo 1994), but its noisy habits and tendency to stay high in the branches make it particularly vulnerable to hunting for food and sport (del Hoyo 1994, Strahl et al. 1994). In Venezuela hunting is the main threat and it is only relatively frequent in remote, newly-opened forests in regions like Perijá (Sharpe, pers. comm. 2011). In parts of Colombia hunting restrictions enforced by guerrilla groups, and the use of land mines in forested areas, provide a certain amount of protection (Donegan et al. 2001). In addition to hunting, logging is a major threat in Ecuador and Peru (Ríos et al. 2006).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Conservation Actions Proposed
Obtain basic ecological information such as habitat use and requirements, home range size, population dynamics and seasonal movements (Rios et al. 2005, Rios et al. 2006). Determine population status (Rios et al. 2006). Assess the impact of fragmentation on populations (Rios et al. 2006). Control hunting more effectively (Rios et al. 2006). Organise campaigns to raise awareness and reduce hunting for food and sport (Rojas-Suárez et al. 2008). Monitor population trends at known sites. Consider establishing captive breeding programmes (Rojas-Suárez et al. 2008).


72-78 cm. A large all blackish Guan. Long slender red and yellow wattle hangs from throat, legs yellow, bill blue. Similar spp. There is no other all blackish Guan in range. The bicoloured wattle is unique to this species. Voice A repeated loud wailing ba-reeeeer-ah. Hints Best located by voice.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Clay, R., Isherwood, I., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Aburria aburri. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/05/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/05/2022.