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Species of the Day – Horned Guan (Oreophasis derbianus)

December 18, 2012

Species of the Day - Horned Guan (Oreophasis derbianus )

Horned Guan is an unmistakable, large, black-and-white cracid, which is distributed in humid mountain forests of southeast Mexico-(Chiapas) and Guatemala of Central America. It is found in altitude up to 3,350 metres. Its diet consists mainly of fruits, green leaves and invertebrates. The female usually lays up to two eggs.

Since the 1960s, logging, firewood-gathering and agricultural expansion have caused extensive deforestation. Forest is presently threatened by clearance for subsistence agriculture, coffee plantations, selective logging, new roads developments together with disturbance, hunting for subsistence and live birds trade are some of the major threat’s this endangered specie faces. It’s population is thought to number 1,000-2,499 individuals, numbers have decreased severely during the 20th century and nowhere is it better than uncommon.

Horned Guan are listed CITES Appendix I and legally protected in Mexico and Guatemala, many conservation measures are taking place such as environmental education programmes, shade-grown coffee projects and network of protected areas are established in the range states to save the specie from extinction. Captive breeding projects are also underway to maintain a captive population of this imperiled specie. Additional reforestation, creation of new protected areas, anti-poaching measures and habitat monitoring schemes are required for long term conservation of this ‘flagship species’ of the Central American Highlands .

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