Horned Guan

(Oreophasis derbianus)




Facts about this animal

The Horned Guan has a dull white breast, with conspicuous blackish midstreaks on the feathers. The rest of the plumage is black. It has a conspicuous white bar across the middle of the tail. The belly is dull black with scattered whitish edgings of the feathers. The upper surface of the wings and tail has a dark bluish or greenish-blue sheen. The head, neck and throat are velvety black, the feathers fo the forehead are very plushlike, covering the cere and the nostrils. The hindneck has a dark bluish or greenish-blue sheen.

The horn is bony, upright, nearly cylindrical and scarlet, arising from the brightly coloured bare part of the crown. In msles, it is up to 55-60 mm in high, in females up to 45 mm. The bill is horn or straw coloured and the eyes are conspicuously white. It has orange-red to vermillion coloured legs.

Horned guans are arboreal and rarely come down to the ground. They feed mainly on fruit and leaves.

Horned guans build their nests high in the leafy tree branches, some reaching up to 20 m off the ground. Males will mate with several females. Each hen will produce two eggs in a clutch, which she will incubate for about 36 days, which is one of the longest documented incubating periods in the Cracidae family.

Did you know?
that habitat loss is the greatest threat to the survival of the horned guan? The situation is getting worse as the development of new roads allows ever-more pristine forest to be exploited.


Class AVES
Suborder CRACI
Name (Scientific) Oreophasis derbianus
Name (English) Horned Guan
Name (French) Pénélope cornue, Pénélope de Derby
Name (German) Zapfenguan, Bergguan
Name (Spanish) Guan cornudo, Faisan de cuerno rojo
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Gustavo González



Range Guatemala, Mexico
Habitat Subtropical cloud-forest
Wild population 1,000 in late 1970s, more recent information reported 4.5-7.1 individuals/km2 in El Triunfo (1999) and decreasing (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 53 horned guans were registered by the International studbook (WAZA - ISB)at the end of 2004. 40 reported to ISIS in 2008, most of them in Mexico.

In the Zoo

Horned Guan


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 16 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Gustavo González

Why do zoos keep this animal

With a wild population of less than 1000 birds the horned guan is a highly endangered species. With a view of building up a reserve population, an International Studbook has been established under the WAZA umbrella.