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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

Sounds and Vocal Behavior


The primary vocalizations of Crested Guan are "loud honking and yelping cries, often repeated tirelessly early and late in the day: yoink yoink ... or kyeh-kyeh-keyh ..." (Howell and Webb 1995). These calls are more rapid and higher pitched "when the bird is frightened into flight" (Slud 1964).

For a representative audio recording with sonogram, see audio

Other vocalizations of Crested Guan include soft, mellow whistles that function as contact notes (Stiles and Skutch 1989), and "a gruff, low urmmff" (Howell and Webb 1995).

A vocalization that is characterized as a dawn song is described as "powerful 'steam-whistle' call, ending in a low growl: ku LEEErrr!" (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

Additional audio recordings of vocalizations of Crested Guan can be heard at Macaulay Library, at xeno-canto, and at Internet Bird Collection.

Nonvocal Sounds

In common with most, if not all, species of Penelope, male Crested Guans have a wing drumming flight display. Wing drumming takes place during the breeding season, at or just before dawn, while the sky still is dark. The displays takes place in flight from one high perch to another, and are ca 45-150 in length (Delacour and Amadon 1973). "The normal pattern is as follows: the launches from its high perch and sails for about two seconds ... Then, with no apparent alteration in forward speed, the produces the wing-whirr, following which it sails to another perch" (Schwartz, in Delacour and Amadon 1973: 56).

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