Horned Guan



The Horned Guan ( Oreophasis derbianus) is the only member in monotypic genus Oreophasis. It is the only survivor of a very ancient lineage of the order Craciformes that has been evolving independently from all other living members of this family. It's an unmistakable, large (84 cm, 2 kg), black-and-white cracid. Glossy black above with bluish sheen. Whitish flecked black on neck, breast and upper belly. Long black tail with white band. Unusual red horn of bare skin on top of head and small red dewlap. It is endemic to the cloud forest of Chiapas, in the southeast of Mexico, and of southwestern Guatemala, where it inhabits the cloud forest at elevations between 1200 and 2500 m. It is considered Endangered by BirdLife International and IUCN, and of Immediate Conservation Priority by the IUCN Cracid Specialist Group. Habitat alteration, hunting and illegal trade have been generally identified as the most important threats. The global population is estimated between 1,000 and 2,500 individuals.


Horned Guans in Captivity

The first report of Horned Guans in captivity comes from a letter to M. Delacour in 1975, which states that a private collection in Jalisco, Mexico, housed three birds of wild origin, two obtained as eggs and another as a chick. In 1976 two chicks where captured and brought to the ZooMAT in Chiapas, Mexico. Between 1982 and 1983 four eggs were collected and hatched under domestic Turkeys in a private collection in Mexico. In the 1990s different zoos and private collections acquired Horned guans and the population in human care has been slowly growing since then. It is still considered a very rare species in aviculture. There first successful reproduction in captivity probably did not occur until 1994 in the private collection 'La Siberia', near Mexico City.

The last edition of the Horned Guan International Studbook (data current to December 31, 2008), records a historic population of 110 individuals, 72 (36.23.13) of those alive and distributed between 10 institutions: 16 in Europe, three in Guatemala, two in Chile, SO in Mexico.and one in the USA (Saint Louis Zoo, MO). During 2009, one more institution in the USA (Dallas Word Aquarium, TX) added the species to their collection (two pairs), and 18 chicks hatched and 2 birds died, making a living population of 92 individuals by June 1, 2009.

So far breeding has been achieved at six of the registered institutions, with a total 84 birds hatched since 1994, 55% of them between 2006 and 2009. But only two institutions currently keeping the species have been consistent in breeding it for more than 2 years (Africam Safari (Mexico) and Leon Zoo (Mexico).