Bird – Watching
DETAILED ITINERARY - AMAZON BIRDS
Bird – Watching:
Cracids (chachalacas, guans and curassows) are large, long-tailed, and long-necked birds resemblingpheasants or turkeys. Primarily eat fruit, including fruit that has fallen to the ground. Most are heavilyhunted for food; populations of many species have declined significantly, and several are criticallyendangered. Some genera (Penelope, Pipile, Chamaepetes, Aburria) have a characteristic predawndisplay: as the male sails from one tree to another, air rushing through the narrow outer primaries producesa whirring or rattling sound. Guans on this plate (Penelope, Chamaepetes) are largely brown, primarilyarboreal, and usually encountered as singles or pairs.
WHITE-WINGED GUAN Penelope albipennis 70 cm (27⁄2in)Very rare; confined to dry forests of northwest, in small isolated populations in valleys at base of 11 An des, 300–1200 m (but formerly occurred into lowlands). Greatly threatened, primarily by habitatdestruction, but now the focus of a captive breeding and release program. No known overlap withother guans (but see Crested Guan). Readily recognized by the large white area on the primaries(although white on closed wing may be almost concealed when at rest). The blackest Penelope guan(enhancing contrast to white wings), and only one with two-toned bill.
VOICE Predawn displayinterspersed with loud yelps. Calls grunting barks and yelps. ENDEMIC
SICKLE-WINGED GUAN Chamaepetes goudotii * 61–63.5 cm (24–25 in)Uncommon and local in humid montane forest along east slope of Andes and on outlying ridges;2primarily 900–2200 m, but in Puno only at much higher elevations (3000 m). Readily recognizedby prominent blue facial skin and rufous underparts. Geographically variable; northern tschudii hasa more extensive rufous breast than does southern rufiventris, but the two subspecies intergrade in
VOICE S ong, usually given predawn, is a series of thin, high-pitched, rising whistles:“weeee weeEE WEEEEE WEEEEE?” accompanied by wing-quill rattling when changing singingperches. Alarm calls a quiet rising “wee?” and more popping “wee-op” calls in series. Co, E, Bo
BEARDED GUAN Penelope barbata 56–61 cm (22–24 in)Uncommon and geographi cally restricted to humid montane forest in northwest, 1700–2950 m, on3both slopes of western cordillera. Similar to Andean Guan, which it replaces north and west ofMarañón (no geographic overlap); note Bearded’s rufous band at tip of tail and more heavilystreaked underparts and crown.
VOICE Predawn display occasionally interspersed with poppingyelps. Calls popping yelps and barks. E
ANDEAN GUAN Penelope montagnii * 53.5–58.5 cm (21–23 in)
The widespread guan of humid montane forest of east slope of Andes, 1700–3450 m, locally down4to 900 m. Occasionally encountered in small flocks (family groups?). Much smaller and brownerthan Sickle-winged Guan and does not have a blue face. More similar to Spix’s Guan, whichreplaces Andean in lowlands, but is smaller and has less extensive red wattle, less pronounced crest,and more white “grizzling” on face and upper neck.
VOICE Predawn display occasionally interspersed
with yelps or screams (similar to those of woolly monkey). Calls include yelps and barks. Co, E, Bo
CRESTED GUAN Penelope purpurascens * 84–91.5 cm (33–36 in)Apparently rare, and restricted to evergreen forests at ca. 800 m in Tumbes. No overlap with similar5Spix’s Guan of Amazonia. Much browner overall (especially on lower belly) than White-winged Guan, and wings are entirely dark ( but white of White-winged can be largely concealed at rest).Also more heavily streaked on breast. Facial skin is slate (not purplish), gular flap redder (lessorange), and tarsi and feet are red (not pinkish flesh).
VOICE Predawn display interspersed with loudyelps. Calls include barks and popping yelps. Co, E
SPIX’S GUAN Penelope jacquacu * 76–84 cm (30–33 in)Widespread and fairly common in Amazonia, up to 1500 m. Partially arboreal, but also frequentlyforages on or near ground. When alarmed, takes flight with loud calls, often accompanied bycrashing sounds as it takes refuge in trees. The only large brown cracid in most of Amazonia.
VOICE Predawn display occasionally interspersed with yelps or barks. Calls varied and loud and include ahonking or yelping “peeyuk,” becoming harsh barks when flushed. Co, E, Br, Bo
BLACKISH GUANS AND CURASSOWS
Piping-Guan and Wattled Guan are primarily arboreal. Curassows are the most terrestrial cracids.
BLUE-THROATED PIPING-GUAN Pipile cumanensis * 68.5–73.5 cm (27–29 in)
Widespread, locally fairly common in Amazonia, up to 700 m, locally to 1100 m. Often in river-
edge forest, also in terra firme. Typically as singles or pairs, less frequently in small groups. Crosses
large open spaces (such as rivers) in long glide on flat wings.
VOICE Song, usually predawn, is a series
of thin, high pitched, rising whistles: “weeee weeEE WEEEEE WEEEEE?” accompanied by wingquill
rattling when changing singing perches. Call a popping squeak: “Pqueeew.”
Co, E, Br, Bo
WATTLED GUAN Aburria aburri 73.5–81.5 cm (29–32 in)
Rare to uncommon in humid montane forest on east slope of Andes and on outlying ridges,
650–2200 m; formerly also local on west slope in Cajamarca (where now extirpated?). Often
concealed within dense vegetation; easily overlooked except by voice. Very dark, with contrasting
blue bill, small orange and yellow gular wattle, and short yellow tarsi.
VOICE Song, usually at night
and predawn, is a reedy, unbirdlike growl, rising and falling in pitch: “grrrrREEEEERRRrrrrrrr.”
Calls high whistled notes. Co, E
SALVIN’S CURASSOW Mitu salvini 84–89 cm (33–35 in)
Rare and local in humid forest in northern Amazonia. Heavily hunted; scarce near human
settlements. Behavior like that of Razor-billed Curassow; the two species may meet (or overlap?)
very locally north of the Amazon, near the Colombian border. Salvin’s has white (not chestnut)
lower belly and undertail coverts; bill relatively small.
VOICE Song, mostly at dawn, a series of deep
booming notes similar in pattern to Razor-billed Curassow, but final 2 notes not as emphasized:
“mmm mmmMMMM… BMM’mmmm-mmmm.” Calls rising whistles and popping notes. Co, E
RAZOR-BILLED CURASSOW Mitu tuberosum 83–89 cm (32
Heavily hunted; extirpated or rare in much of its range. Even so, remains the most commonly seen
curassow in Amazonia, up to 1350 m. Widespread south of the Amazon; also locally on the north
bank of the Amazon near the Colombian border (where cf. Salvin’s Curassow). Usually seen as singles
or pairs, on ground in humid forest, but may fly up to low perch when alarmed. Bright red bill laterally
compressed, variable in size; bill size overlaps between sexes (although largest-billed birds probably
VOICE Song, mostly at dawn, is a series of deep booming notes, the first 3 rising, the last
2 even at a slightly higher pitch: “BMMM mmMMM… mmMMM’BMMM-BMMM,” sometimes
followed after pause by sharp “BMM!” Calls rising whistles and popping notes. Co, Br, Bo
NOCTURNAL CURASSOW Nothocrax urumutum 66–71 cm (26–28 in)
Widespread and fairly common in terra firme, up to 600 m, in north; reported south to west bank
of lower Río Ucayali (but no recent records from there). Very rarely observed, habits not well
known; presumably forages on ground. Much more rufescent and uniformly colored than Spix’s
Guan, with no gular patch.
VOICE Sings from well above ground, at night (primarily in first few
hours after dusk, less commonly before dawn). Song a series of deep, booming notes: “mmmm
mmmm-mmmmm mmmm-MMUUU-MMUUU!” Sometimes followed after pause by sharp “BMM!”
Co, E, Br
HORNED CURASSOW Pauxi unicornis * 85–95 cm (33
Very local and rare in humid forest. Found on the outlying Cerros del Sira in east central Peru,
possibly also on outlying ridges in Puno; 900–1200 m. Note prominent blue casque or “horn” at base
of bill, and white (not chestnut) lower belly and undertail coverts; red bill is smaller than that of
VOICE Song (Bolivia), mostly at dawn, is a series of deep booming notes:
“mmmmMM mmmMMM-MMM mmMM mmMM-MMM… BMM!” Call a sharp, popping “pseet!”
Crax globulosa 84–89 cm (33–35 in)
Formerly widespread in Amazonia; now almost extirpated, restricted to small, isolated populations in
remote northern areas. Restricted to varzea and to tall forest on larger river islands. Poorly known;
apparently more arboreal than other curassows. Tip of tail black. Also note bushy crest and black bill,
with colorful wattle at base. Bill wattle red, belly and undertail coverts white in male; wattle yellow
and lower underparts brown in female.
VOICE Song (?) is a long, descending whistle, somewhat like
a falling bomb: “Pseeeew.” Calls similar to song as well as popping sounds. Co, E, Br, Bo
End of the services of Amazon Birds - Bird – Watching