Population of Trinidad Piping Guan is Waning

January 13, 2012
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Trinidad is home to many exotic birds, and the piping guan is one of the rare species that true birding enthusiasts will hope to see on International Expeditions’ new Guyana & Trinidad tour. Locals refer to the piping guan as "pawi," and not much is known about them.

Full-grown piping guan are typically over two feet in length. They have red legs and light blue markings around their heads, but are mostly brownish-black with a purple hue. Pawi tend to live in steep, hilly forest areas and the adults forage for fruit and seeds around dusk which is the ideal time to catch a glimpse of these rare birds. They especially prefer the fruit of the baboonwood tree, which is endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

The piping guan has an even higher risk of extinction, the IUCN reports. This species has been critically endangered since 1994 due to illegal hunting and habitat loss. It is already extinct in the lowlands and Trinity Hills in Trinidad, and the only known remaining population can be found in the Northern Range. Conservation laws have been in place since the 1960s, but they are poorly enforced, and the agency estimates that only about 200 of these creatures are still alive today.

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