Trinidad Piping-Guan

Scientific Name
Pipile pipile
Conservation Status
Critically Endangered (CR)

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Wikipedia Article

The Trinidad Piping Guan (Pipile pipile) is a bird in the chachalaca, guan and curassow family Cracidae. This species is found only in Trinidad; it is close to extinction. This is a medium-sized cracid, 60 cm in length, and similar in general appearance to turkeys, with thin necks and small heads. They are forest birds, and the nest is built in a tree. Three large white eggs are laid, the female alone incubating. This arboreal species feeds on fruit and berries. Pipile pipile is mainly black with a purple gloss. The large crest is blackish, edged with white, and there are large white wing patches. The bare face and wattle are blue, and the legs are red. The Trinidad Piping Guan's call is a thin piping. The wings whirr in flight.
Data confirms that the other blue-wattled species, the Blue-throated Piping Guan, is the Trinidad species' closest living relative. Interestingly, the same data suggests that these diverged some 400.000 years ago at latest, perhaps as early as 1.6 mya, whereas Trinidad has been an island only since the end of the last ice age. This indicates that the Trinidad Piping Guan evolved in mainland South America, being driven to its relict island range in more recent times. The holotype of this species was supposedly collected in the "Orinoco River [region] near Cuman" (del Hoyo 1994a,b). This locality has usually been considered erroneous. However, as it indicates an area on the mainland roughly opposite Trinidad, it might actually be correct and indicate that the Trinidad Piping Guan was not extirpated from Venezuela until around 1800. In South America, the form cumanensis has a greenish gloss to the plumage, a white face and crest, and a blue wattle, cujubi has a blue face and a red wattle, and jacutinga has a black face and a red wattle."