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Version 1.0

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White-winged Guan Penelope albipennis

Ferrnando Angulo Pratolongo
Version: 1.0 — Published June 3, 2011

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

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White-winged Guans usually vocalize at dawn and dusk. They are most common heard during breeding season. This species has several types of vocalizations that are heard at different distances and in certain circumstances, with many variations between these and even mixtures. The 3 basic types are:

1) Territorial call

This vocalization is usually delivered before dawn, and can be given from a perch or in flight. It consists of a loud call accompanied by a mechanical sound produced with the wings (wing-drumming; see Nonvocal sounds). It can be heard from great distances (e. g. from sec. 0:04 - 0:05 of this recording). This call sounds like "jar-jar-jar" ending with a quick "ha-ha-ha-ha". The speed increases as the call is emitted.

This vocalization serves to delineate the couple's territory. It usually is produced by the male but could is given by the female.

2) Alarm call

This type of vocalization usually is delivered when the bird is alert or is alarmed by the presence of a threat (e. g., predators or humans), but also may be produced in other situations. This call also can be heard from great distances. It is a sharp call, which can vary in intensity and length. This call sounds like "piu-piu-piu" or "cau-cau-cau". It can be delivered in duets and sometimes both birds reach a perfect synchronization (e.g., from s 1:58 - 2:10 of this recording).

While giving this call, birds stretch the neck towards the front and moving nervously.

3. Threat call

This vocalization is usually emitted directly at a target. Instead of marking territory, this call is issued when there is a clear intention to defend the couple's territory from another individual from the same species.

To emit this call, guans stand body erect and stretch the neck up, raising the feathers of the crown in a crest, opening the beak wide, and stretching out the tongue. The call sounds like "arrr, arrr, arrr".  Examples of this call are from s 3:19-3:45 in this recording, and from s 0:15-0:24 in this example.

Nonvocal Sounds

White-winged Guan gives a fast wing-drumming that can be heard at dawn from great distances; an example is from s 0:04-0:05 in this recording, where the wing-drumming is heard at the same time as the territorial call (see Vocalizations).

Recommended Citation

Angulo Pratolongo, F. (2011). White-winged Guan (Penelope albipennis), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.whwgua1.01