Pava Andina/Andean Guan/Penelope montagnii

Foto: Brayan Coral

Nombre en español: Pava Andina

Nombre en ingles: Andean Guan

Nombre cientifico: Penelope montagnii

Familia: Cracidae

Canto: Mitch Lysinger

La pava andina (Penelope montagnii) es una especie de ave galliforme de la familia Cracidae que se encuentra en selvas de los Andes entre los 1500 y 3900 msnm, en Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia, hasta el extremo noroeste de Argentina, donde fue registrada entre la localidad de Casas Viejas y el río Trigohuaico, en el norte de Salta.3


Mide entre 40 y 60 cm de longitud y pesa en promedio 460 g. El plumaje es oscuro, cabeza cana, en el pecho bordeado de gris, el dorso pardo broncíneo. Presenta anillos alrededor de los ojos de color gris azulado y garganta rojiza. Las patas son rojas.

Historia natural

Viven en los bosques de niebla. Buscan y siguen constantemente los ejércitos de hormigas de las que se alimentan. Construyen sus nidos en un árbol y la hembra pone uno o dos huevos. Los polluelos nacen hacia marzo.


Se conocen 5 subespecies de Penelope montagnii:

  • Penelope montagnii atrogularis – Ecuador y sudoeste de Colombia
  • Penelope montagnii brooki – Cordillera oriental de Colombia
  • Penelope montagnii montagnii – Venezuela y Serranía de Perijá
  • Penelope montagnii plumosa – Perú
  • Penelope montagnii sclateri – Bolivia y extremo norte de Argentina
Foto: Rodrigo Gaviria

Andean guan

The Andean guan (Penelope montagnii) is a gamefowl species of the family Cracidae, in which it belongs to the guan subfamilyPenelopinae. This bird occurs in the highlands (5,000 ft/1,500 m ASL and higher) of the Andes, from Venezuela and Colombia throughEcuador and Peru south to Bolivia and perhaps northwesternmost Argentina.[2]


These are medium-sized birds, measuring about 40–58 centimetres (16–23 in) in length and weighing about 500-840 grams (1.1-1.8 lbs). They are long-bodied with thin necks and small heads, and similar in shape to turkeys but more slender and elegant. Theplumage is overall brown with whitish edging to the feathers of the head, neck and chest. It has a red dewlap and reddish legs.

In the Conover Collection of the Field Museum, there is a hypopigmented female specimen of the subspecies atrogularis taken December 20, 1929 at Pucará (west Ecuador). The forehead, chin and upper throat retain the normal color and the hind part of the body is faintly barred pinkish-buff; otherwise the plumage is white. The iris color was not recorded, making it tough to determine whether this is a case of albinism or leucism. Leucism is more frequently seen in birds – particularly in such pronounced cases –, and hypopigmented cracids are rare in the first place. This particular bird has abraded feathers; prior to its death it seems to have been held in a cage for some time, presumably to show off such a rare specimen.

Ecology and status

They are inhabitants of cloud forest; the sightings of this cracid are often associated to the migrations of army ants which the bird usually follows. The nest is built in a tree, with single egg each mating season. Two adults with a young were observed in Ecuador in late June.[5]

Three of four birds of the nominate subspecies, collected on May 29 at the Balcones Rivernear Guasca, were molting their tails. The tail molt starts at the outside and progresses inward, with the old rectrices being shed in alternating pairs.

It is affected by habitat destruction, apparently unable to cope with deforestation, and also hunted for food. However, the Andean guan has a vast range and is thus not globally threatened.

Given its altitudinal range, it might be affected by habitat fragmentation in the long term. There is little data on its overall population, but it occurs in several protected areas in its range. For example, it can be found in the Cocora valley in Quindío Department and theQuimbaya protected forest in Risaralda Department of Colombia, and the Yanacocha Reserve of Ecuador.

Penelope montagnii


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