This species has a small and severely fragmented range, which is continuing to decline as a result of habitat loss and hunting.
55 cm. Small, mostly brown cracid. Dark greyish-brown upperparts and rear underparts, except silvered crown and neck feathers. Duller wings. Ill-defined rufous terminal band to tail. Lower neck and breast extensively edged whitish. Red legs and dewlap. Similar spp. Most closely resembles Band-tailed Guan P. argyrotis, from which it differs in lacking conspicuous white upperwing-covert markings, its fully feathered chin and upper throat and partially feathered tarsus. Andean Guan P. montagniiis also similar but lacks a terminal band on the tail.
Penelope barbata has a relatively restricted range in southEcuador (Azuay, El Oro, Loja) and northwest Peru in Piura (Huancabamba, Ayabaca, including Aypate, El Toldo, Bosque de Cuyas and Cerro Huamingas, Maray [Flanagan et al. 2000] and Cerro Chinguela [Begazo and Valqui 2000]), and Chalaco, Morropon (Saavedra, 2004),ChLambayeque (Laquipampa Wildlife refuge [Angulo and Aleman 2006]) and Cajamarca (Saña valley, Tabaconas-Namballe National Sanctuary [Amanzo et al. 2003]) departments. (Piura, Lambayeque, Cajamarca, Ayabaca, Huancabamba and Ferrenafe).
Suitable habitat within its range is estimated at 2,637 km2 in Ecuador (Krabbe et al. 1998), and probably a larger area in Peru. In 1989, the population in Ecuador was estimated at c.3,000 individuals (1,000-6,000) occurring at c.2-4 birds/km2, although surveys have produced much higher density estimates in the Cordillera de Chilla (Jacobs and Walker 1999), and recently at two sites in Loja province where 33 birds/km2 were recorded at Cajanuma (a relatively well-protected area) and 17 birds/km2 were estimated at Curishiro (a mining area) (Medina et al. 1994). Montane forest in Podocarpus National Park possibly holds up to 1,000 pairs (I. Franke per J. Fjeldså in litt. 1999). Since 1989, other populations have been found in Ecuador, notably on Lomo Angashcola, Loma del Oro, Mamanunga and Santiago; Loja (Wege and Long 1995, Best et al. 1996, Flanagan et al. 2000). In Peru the species it is relatively common in the upper Saña valley, Cajamarca (I. Franke per J. Fjeldså in litt. 1999), and has recently been discovered at several sites in Ayabaca and Cajamarca (J. P. O'Neill in litt. 1999). It has also been found in “La Palizada” at 3100 m in upper Chancay Valley and in several localities along the east side of the western cordillera in Lambayeque and Cajamarca, between Kañaris and Boque de Proteccion Pagaibamba (F. Angulo in litt. 2012).
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.
A slow and on-going decline is suspected on the basis of habitat destruction and degradation, which is being compounded by hunting pressure.
This large frugivore inhabits humid montane forest and cloud-forest at 1,500-3,200 m, and regularly to 1,200 m in Lambayeque. It is usually seen in pairs, or small groups of up to six. Its breeding ecology is poorly known, but adults with chicks have been recorded in February-July (Angulo and Aleman 2006), and juveniles have been observed on May, June and August in Bosque de Cuyas, Ayabaca (N. Krabbe in litt. 2007). A nest found in Laquipampa was situated in gallery forest in a tree c3 m above ground (F. Angulo in litt. 2007). It feeds on many plant species, especially Ficus spp. on Laquipampa (F. Angulo in litt.2007) and a recent study found that its diet consists largely of fruits from the families Lauraceae (39%), Myrtaceae (20.3%) and Meliaceae (14%) (Gomez 2006).
The main threat to the species is ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation due to clearance for pasture, agriculture and increased mining activity, both legal and illegal. Legal mining is particularly a threat in Peru, with many concessions having been granted throughout the species range. Several of these legal concessions will impact protected areas including Tabaconas-Namballe National Sanctuary. Within Podocarpus National Park illegal gold mining and forest clearance by colonists take place within the park boundary, although large areas of undisturbed forest remain (Wege and Long 1995). Hunting may be a threat in key areas such as Loma Angashcola and Podocarpus National Park (Wege and Long 1995), and in Peru (feathers of two hunted birds were found at Salas in 2004 [F. Angulo in litt. 2007]) . The expansion of mining in the region and the creation of new roads improve access and may locally increase hunting. Habitat destruction is also fragmenting the species range and promoting long-term isolation of small, non-viable populations.
Conservation Actions Underway
It is protected by law in Peru and Ecuador. It is protected within Podocarpus National Park, Tapichalaca Reserve, Huashapamba Forest Reserve, Bosque Protector Colambo-Yacuri and Angashcola Community Reserve in Ecuador; and Laquipampa Wildlife refuge (ex-Zona Reservada) (J. Flanagan in litt. 2001, F. Angulo in litt. 2012), Tabaconas-Namballe National Sanctuary, Piura/Cajamarca (J. P. O'Neill in litt. 1999) and Bosque de Protección Pagaibamba (F. Angulo in litt. 2007) in Peru.Conservation Actions Proposed
Research habitat requirements and basic natural history (F. Angulo in litt. 2012). Encourage the protection of more forested areas in the Andes of southern Ecuador and northern Peru. Support the establishment of private reserves like Tapichalaca. Ensure adequate protection of Podocarpus National Park and increase capacity and infrastructure for park staff. Support the reserves of Angashcola and Huashapamba (Ecuador), expand protected habitat network in montane areas of Lambayeque, Piura and Cajamarca, including the "Cerro Chinguela" area. Implement proposals that help support communities to establish private reserves, such as the reserve at "Bosque de Cuyas". Ayabaca and increase capacity and infrastructure for Park Staff at Laquipampa (Peru). Determine the effect of hunting on the population (F. Angulo in litt. 2012). Campaigns to stop hunting (F. Angulo in litt. 2012). Conduct educational campaigns highlighting the importance of the species for montane forests and produce a participative conservation strategy for the species, search for further sites where the species can be found and estimate its density.