The Cauca guan is endemic to a small area in Colombia and is one of the most threatened birds in this country. It lives in the wet forests on both Andean slopes of the Cauca River valley, including forest borders and areas in regeneration, located from 1200 to 2100 meters above sea level.
Historically, this species occupied the low areas of the valleys of the Cauca and Patía rivers, but it is very probable that the loss of habitat and the hunting pressure may have considerably reduced its distribution. The Cauca guan has a generalist frugivorous diet, complemented by insects, foliage and flowers. Customarily, it lives in small groups (1-3 individuals) and does not show territoriality or aggressive behaviors.
WCS has been working with this bird since year 2003. In the Otún-Quimbaya Fauna and Flora Sanctuary (Risaralda), scientists have studied its natural history, its diet and the number of individuals living in this protected area. In Barbas-Bremen, another protected regional area shared by Risaralda and Quindío, its populations and the connectivity among them have also been evaluated.
With the purpose of knowing how the number of individuals varies in time, WSC has worked on the design and implementation of monitoring programs for the Regional System of Protected Areas of the Coffee Growing Region (SIRAP-EC in Spanish) and the Yotoco Forest Reserve. Local communities, university students and people working in the protected areas have joined these participative programs. Without compromising the necessary statistical rigor, participative monitoring is intended to be sustainable in the long-run.
Jointly with Asociación Calidris, at the end of 2018 we published an upgrade of the management plan for the Cauca guan. This document compiles the information we have available on the species and presents the strategies and actions that should be implemented to preserve it. We also established the Mesa Nacional de Trabajo (National Working Group) for the Cauca guan of which National Natural Parks of Colombia, the Valle del Cauca Regional Autonomous Corporation (CVC, in Spanish) and the Zoological Foundation of Cali are part. Through this working group, we encourage and convey the different initiatives related with the study and conservation of this species.