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Title: Behavior and Conservation of the Crested Guan: An Under-studied and Over-hunted Tropical Forest Bird
Authors: Porter, Sarah
Advisors: Riehl, Christina
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: The Crested Guan (Penelope purpurascens) is a large arboreal member of the family Cracidae found in Central America. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, though it has been locally extirpated in several places and there is reason to believe that it faces significant threats in all parts of its range. Very little is known about the ecology of this species, and most of what is known comes from anecdotal reports from the 1940s and 1950s. In this study, behavioral data on the Crested Guan was collected using the focal follow method on Barro Colorado Island, Panama from June to August of 2015. A total of 1130 observations were made, and these data were used to create time budgets, compare behaviors between groups of different sizes, and document the bird’s diet. The Crested Guan was discovered to primarily consume leaves, 61.43% of all foraging observations, followed by insects, 25.0% of observations, followed by fruit, 13.57% of observations. This result is surprising as the species is believed to be chiefly frugivorous and because folivory is very rarely observed in birds. Additionally explored within this thesis is the conservation and protection of land and animals within Panama. Three semi-structured interviews were conducted with the guardabosque, or game wardens, of Barro Colorado Island, revealing the continued existence of “paper parks” and cementing the need for better enforcement of legally protected land.
Extent: 47 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 1992-2023

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