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Horned Guan

Oreophasis derbianus

The Horned Guan, Oreophasis derbianus, presents a striking figure, akin to a turkey in stature. This unique bird boasts glossy black plumage on its back, contrasting with its red legs and a peculiar red horn crowning its head. Its eyes are encircled by a white iris, and its bill is a vibrant yellow. The breast and upper belly of the bird are clothed in white, while its elongated tail feathers are predominantly black, interrupted by a white band near their base. Both male and female Horned Guans share a similar appearance, though the juveniles are somewhat less vibrant, with a smaller horn and brownish wings and tail.

Identification Tips

When identifying the Horned Guan, look for its distinctive red horn atop the head, a feature not found in any other bird species. The combination of red legs, a yellow bill, and the contrasting black and white plumage make it unmistakable in its natural habitat.


The Horned Guan is a denizen of humid mountain forests, where it can be found traversing the dense foliage.


This bird is native to Central America, with its range extending through the mountainous regions of southeastern Mexico, specifically Chiapas, and into Guatemala.


The Horned Guan is known for its arboreal lifestyle, spending much of its time in the treetops. It is a shy and elusive creature, often difficult to spot amidst the forest canopy.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Horned Guan is primarily frugivorous, consisting mainly of fruits. It also consumes green leaves and a variety of invertebrates, foraging through the forest's rich bounty.


In the breeding season, the female Horned Guan typically lays one or two eggs, nurturing the next generation of this rare species.

Conservation status

The Horned Guan is currently classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Its precarious status is attributed to ongoing habitat loss, a small population size, a limited range, and hunting pressures in certain areas. It is also listed on Appendix I of CITES, reflecting the international concern for its conservation.

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Horned Guans on Birda

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Zac Peterson
29 Jul 2023 - 6:45am

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A photo of a Sickle-winged Guan (Chamaepetes goudotii)

Sickle-winged Guan

Chamaepetes goudotii
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