Seeing HIGHLAND GUAN Penelopina nigra in Guatemala with CAYAYA BIRDING

Highland Guan in Guatemala
Highland Guan in Guatemala. Photograph © Knut Eisermann.

Highland Guan (Penelopina nigra) is endemic to the highlands of southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and western Nicaragua. This cracid favors cloud forests between 800 and 3,000 m (2,600-9,850 ft) altitude, but occurs locally also in pine-oak forest. The males' far-carrying whistles and loud wing rattles during display flights belong to the characteristic noises of the cloud forests of the region. Highland Guan is listed in the IUCN/BirdLife International Red List of globally threatened bird species as Vulnerable, mainly because of increasing habitat loss.

Highland Guan habitat in Guatemala
Mountain cloud forest, habitat of Highland Guan in Guatemala.

The highland of Guatemala is the core area of distribution, where Highland Guan is still locally common. It can, however, be difficult to see because most time of the year it is shy and retiring. Most of the CAYAYA BIRDING tours include several sites with Highland Guan populations, with good chances of seeing it.

Get in touch to organize your tour for watching Highland Guan and other regional endemic birds in Guatemala.

Photographs of Highland Guans seen during CAYAYA BIRDING tours in Guatemala

male Highland Guan, CAYAYA BIRDING tour Highland Guan in canopy, CAYAYA BIRDING tour Highland Guan on the ground, CAYAYA BIRDING tour Display flight of male Highland Guan, CAYAYA BIRDING tour Female Highland Guan, CAYAYA BIRDING tour Highland Guan preening, CAYAYA BIRDING tour Highland Guan in the canopy, CAYAYA BIRDING tour Highland Guan tail-fanning, CAYAYA BIRDING tour Highland Guan upright posture, CAYAYA BIRDING tour Highland Guan in flight, CAYAYA BIRDING tour Highland Guan resting, CAYAYA BIRDING tour Highland Guan in dense understory, CAYAYA BIRDING tour

Start here planning your birding trip to Guatemala:

Highland Guan in flight
Male Highland Guan shortly before landing on a branch.

Contributions by Knut Eisermann and Claudia Avendaño of CAYAYA BIRDING to the knowledge about Highland Guan

  • Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2018) An update on the inventory, distribution and residency status of bird species in Guatemala. Bulletin British Ornithologists' Club 138: 148-229.
  • Eisermann, K. (2012) Highland Guan (Penelopina nigra), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY.
  • Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2009) Guatemala. Pp. 235-242 In: C. Devenish, D. F. Diaz Fernández, R. P. Clay, I. Davidson & I. Y. Zabala (eds.) Important Bird Areas Americas, priority sites for biodiversity conservation. BirdLife Conservation Series 16. Birdlife International, Quito, Ecuador.
  • Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2007) Lista comentada de las aves de Guatemala - Annotated checklist of the birds of Guatemala. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
  • Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2006) Diversidad de aves en Guatemala, con una lista bibliográfica. Pp. 525-623 In: E. Cano (ed.) Biodiversidad de Guatemala, Vol. 1. Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Guatemala.
  • Eisermann, K., N. Herrera & O. Komar (2006) Highland Guan (Penelopina nigra). Pp. 85-90 In: D. M. Brooks (ed.) Conserving Cracids: the most threatened family of birds in the Americas. Miscellaneous Publications of the Houston Museum of Natural Science 6.
  • Eisermann, K. (2005) Noteworthy bird observations in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 125: 3-11.
  • Eisermann, K. & U. Schulz (2005) Birds of a high-altitude cloud forest in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Revista de Biología Tropical 53: 577-594.
  • More about our bird research in Guatemala.

Back to Top