This species occurs on the west slopes of the West and Central Andes of Colombia. These are large birds, 76 cm in length, and similar in general appearance to turkeys, with thin necks and small heads. They are forest birds, and the nest is built in a tree.
This bird has drab plumage, with a red dewlap. It is dull brownish-grey, with mainly chestnut rear parts and tail. It has heavily whitish-scaled feather edges from head to mantle and breast.
The Cauca guan's call is, like other guans, a loud, raucous honking.
This bird is endangered due to a severe loss of suitable habitat, and is also hunted for food. The current population estimate is less than one thousand individuals.