AppearanceThis is a large gamebird, with a length varying from 84 to 91.5 cm . These birds commonly weigh around 1,750 g , though can weigh as little as 1,361 g in ''P. p. brunnescens'', the smallest race on average. Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 33 to 42.8 cm , the tail is 34 to 41.5 cm and the tarsus is 7.4 to 9.1 cm . It is similar in general appearance to a turkey, with a small head, long strong red legs, and a long broad tail. It is mainly dark brown, with white spotting on the neck and breast. The rump and belly are rufous. The head sports a bushy crest, from which the species gets its name, blue-grey bare skin around the eye, and a bare red dewlap or wattle. The sexes are similar, but young birds have black vermiculations and ochre specks on the body plumage.
The crested guan is a noisy bird with a loud ''plee'' or ''quonk'' call, a whistled contact call and a powerful ''keLEEEErrrr!'' dawn song.
DistributionThe crested guan breeds in lowlands from south Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula to western Ecuador and southern Venezuela at up to 1,850 m altitude.
HabitatThe crested guan is an arboreal forest species. The substantial twig nest is built in a tree or stump and lined with leaves. The female lays two or three large rough-shelled white eggs and incubates them alone.
This is a social bird, often seen in pairs or family groups of 6–12. It walks along branches seeking the fruit and foliage on which it feeds, or flies off with a heavy ani-like flap and glide.
The range of this species has severely contracted outside remote or protected forests due to deforestation and hunting, but it has a very wide range and is a relatively common species so the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern".
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