Black Guan at Las Virtudes

Black Guan - the only guan of the highlands

Black Guan – the only guan of the highlands

Bigger than a Chachalaca but considerably smaller than the Crested Guan,  the Black Guan (Chamaepetes unicolor) likes thick, highland forest and prefers to be in the trees rather than on the ground . It had been reported in our area, even in San Antonio, but I had never caught even a glimpse. However, a late-afternoon trip to Las Virtudes finally brought me my first local sighting of this handsome bird, at the junction of Calle Vargas and the road up to Las Virtudes. The bird and I were alone in the mountain solitude and stillness at the end of the day. This Magic Moment, so different and so new! With thanks to Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman! Only as the guan took to noisy flight did I notice its presence. Its bill is blue, its eye is red, and its legs are almost pink. Otherwise, it is of course rather black!

Friend Karel Straatman took the photo of the pair above, and below is a nice pic of a single bird, courtesy of Richard Garrigues.

Black Guan: Its blue bill is a striking feature.

Black Guan: Its blue bill is a striking feature.

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