White-browed Guan Penelope jacucaca


Justification of Red List category
This species qualifies as Vulnerable because intensifying threats are suspected to have led to rapid population declines, and the species has already been extirpated from some sites.

Population justification
Delacour & Amadon (2004) estimated the population size to number fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, thus the population is placed in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals. This equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded to 3,500-15,000 individuals here.

Trend justification
A rapid and on-going population decline is suspected on the basis of hunting pressure and habitat degradation.

Distribution and population

Penelope jacucaca is a caatinga endemic confined to Piauí, Ceará, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Bahia and north-east Minas Gerais, north-east Brazil (Sick 1993, G. M Kirwan in litt. 2000). There are apparently three distinct subpopulations: south of the rio São Francisco; north-east of the rio São Francisco; and south-east Piauí to west Ceará (Sick 1993). There are recent records from north-western Minas Gerais (Mocambinho [Kirwan et al. 2001], Jatobá [Kirwan et al. 2004], Lagoa dos Patos [de Vasconcelos 2006]), Bahia (Raso da Catarina Ecological Station [P. Lima in litt. 2003], Curaçá [Freitas and Barros 2002], Chapada Diamantina [Parrini et al. 1999]) and southern Piauí (Serra de Uruçuí [Santos (2001a], Serra da Capivara National Park [Olmos 1993], Serra das Confusões National Park [L. F. Silveira in litt. 2003], Sete Cidades National Park [Santos 2001b], Parque Ambiental de Teresina [Rodrigues and Santos 2001]), Pernambuco (Serra Negra Biological Reserve [Roda and Carlos 2004], Mauricio Dantas Private Reserve [Farias et al. 2001]) and Ceará (in the Itapagé municipality [P. Develey in litt. 2007] and Serra de Baturité [Roberto Otoch per D. Willis in litt. 2009]). There are no recent records from near coastal areas of Alagoas or Paraíba, as claimed in the past, and the species is considered extinct there.


It is a poorly known and scarce resident of dry, lowland stunted forest and caatinga (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Sick 1993).


North-eastern Brazil is the poorest region in the country and has a strong hunting culture. This large and attractive species is considered either locally extinct or very rare over much of its distribution and is under intensive pressure from hunting even in protected areas. Additionally, both Raso da Catarina and Serra Negra are intensively exploited by Indian groups, who have also cut much of the latter forest (Santos 2001b). Degradation of dry forests and arboreal caatinga, apparently its favoured habitats, has also been intensive.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Recent records from a number of protected areas including Raso da Catarina Ecological Station (Bahia), Serra da Capivara National Park (Piauí), Serra das Confusões National Park, Sete Cidades National Park, Parque Ambiental de Teresina and Pernambuco (Serra Negra Biological Reserve [Roda and Carlos 2004], Mauricio Dantas Private Reserve). In Ceará state it has recently been found at a site in Itapagé municipality where a private reserve is being created (P. Develey in litt. 2007). An action plan being developed by IBAMA for Cracidae will include this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out surveys to assess the population size. Conduct research into the extent and level of hunting pressure on the species. Develop and implement an action plan for the species and its habitat. Improve de facto protection of protected areas within its range. Initiate local awareness campaigns to combat hunting in protected areas.


65-70 cm. Medium-sized, blackish-brown cracid with a striking white supercilium. Prominent elongated white streaks in the upperwing. Pale legs. Similar spp. None in range. Voice Unknown.


Text account compilers
Symes, A., Benstead, P., Keane, A., Symes, A., Sharpe, C J

Silveira, L., Olmos, F., Lima, P., Kirwan, G., Develey, P.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Penelope jacucaca. Downloaded from on 09/12/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 09/12/2023.