Neotropical Birds
Version  1.0
This is a historic version of this account.   Current version

Crested Guan Penelope purpurascens

Kadeem Gilbert and Thomas S. Schulenberg
Version: 1.0 — Published December 6, 2013



Feeding behavior: Crested Guans forage for fresh fruit high in the canopy, eating them directly from the tree.

They occur in loose flocks. The groups are arboreal, rarely found on the ground, and are usually high up in the trees. They escape by leaping or half-flying from limb to limb with incredible speed and agility. They are not shy and often walk along limbs, cackling and peering down at the source of disturbance. Guans can be located by their plaintive calling, especially when they leave the roost in the early morning (Leopold 1959).


There is little information related to territoriality or density for Crested Guan.

Sexual Behavior

Socially monogamous with biparental care. During the breeding season males perform a flight display; see Nonvocal Sounds.

Social and interspecific behavior

Crested Guans often occur in pairs or in groups of six to eight individuals (Wetmore 1965).


Often hunted by people for their meat.

Recommended Citation

Gilbert, K. and T. S. Schulenberg (2013). Crested Guan (Penelope purpurascens), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.cregua1.01
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