This majestic species has a very rapidly declining and severely fragmented population, primarily owing to intense habitat conversion and high hunting levels. Negative population trends and habitat fragmentation are projected to continue. The species therefore qualifies as Endangered.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Distribution and populationPavo muticus
Male 244 cm, female 100-110 cm. Beautiful, spangled green peafowl. Male has long, upright crest, largely brilliant glossy-green plumage with blackish scales and mostly blackish-brown wings (tinged green) with caramel-coloured primaries. Female, duller, lacks train and has blackish-brown upperparts and tail with pale buffish bars and vermiculations. Juvenile (both sexes) resembles female. Voice Male territorial call is far-carrying ki-wao (often repeated). Female gives loud aow-aa, with emphasis on first syllable. Hints Males call from roost trees in early morning and at dusk.
has a large ancestral range, across which it was once common and widespread (BirdLife International 2001)
. It has undergone a serious decline and the only sizeable remaining populations are found in dry forests in Cambodia
(Evans and Clements 2004, S. Browne in litt.
(W. Duckworth in litt.
2008) and west-central Vietnam
(Brickle 2002). Outside of this region populations persist in western and northern Thailand
(W. Meckvichai in litt.
2004), the southern portion of Laos
, Annam in Vietnam, Yunnan in China
(Han et al.
2009) and on Java in Indonesia
. In India
, individuals are occasionally encountered in Manipur (A. Choudhury in litt.
2004), and one was recorded in southern Mizoram in 2007 (Choudhury 2009), but it may be extinct elsewhere in north-east India and Bangladesh
, and is extinct in Malaysia and peninsular Thailand. The population evidently declined dramatically during the 20th century, leading to range contraction and local extinctions; current pressures remain intense, with very rapid and on-going declines suspected based on rates of disturbance and habitat conversion across South-East Asia. However, where protected areas are effectively managed, such as Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area, populations are increasing (T. Clements in litt.
2007). The development of an effective survey methodology and increased survey effort within its range has led to an increase in records, especially from Cambodia, Thailand (Mekvichai et al.
in prep). and China, and hence the conservative population estimate of 5,000-10,000 individuals generated in 1995 has been revised to 10,000-19,999 mature individuals. Population justification
Although rare compared with historic numbers, improved survey methodology and increased effort has led to an increase in the reporting rate and thus the population estimate has been revised upwards to 10,000-19,999 mature individuals, to reflect this improved knowledge. This equates to 15,000-29,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 15,000-30,000 individuals. Nevertheless this remains a coarse estimate and warrants refinement.Trend justification
Habitat modification and utilisation continue to be intense in South-East Asia; they have almost certainly precipitated declines in this species's population of more than 50% over the past three generations and these are projected to continue.Ecology
Historically it has been reported to occur in a wide variety of habitats, including a range of primary and secondary, tropical and subtropical, evergreen and deciduous forest-types, mixed coniferous forest, swamp forest, open woodland, forest edge, bamboo, grasslands, savannas, scrub and farmland edge, from sea-level to at least 2,100 m. Contemporary records are mostly limited to dry deciduous forests, with the highest densities occurring near undisturbed rivers and wetlands (Brickle 2002); access to water and human disturbance have a strong influence on the species's abundance and distribution (Brickle 2002, J. C. Eames in litt.
2004). It has been hypothesized that the species favours open deciduous forest as it may allow large clutches to be laid to coincide with a seasonal flush of fallen fruit (Brickle 2002). Threats
Widespread hunting for meat and feathers, and collection of eggs and chicks, combined with habitat modification and human disturbance, has caused a catastrophic decline throughout much of the species's range. Fragmentation has isolated many small populations, increasing their susceptibility to local extinction, but selective logging appears to have no adverse effects on peafowl distribution (Brickle 2002). Other threats may include trade in the male's spectacular train feathers. In 2008, individuals of this species were reportedly being sold illegally for IDR200,000 (at the time around US$22) in the animal markets of Java (ProFauna Indonesia in litt. 2008). It is regarded as a crop-pest by farmers in China and Thailand (W. Meckvichai in litt. 2004), and is consequently poisoned (Han et al. 2009). The spread of human settlement presents the greatest threat, directly through hunting pressure and habitat loss, but also indirectly by preventing access to otherwise suitable habitat.
Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. The species is protected in China, although this is difficult to enforce in remote mountainous areas (Han et al. 2009). It is known from many protected areas, including important populations in Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Indonesia (J. C. Eames in litt. 2004, W. Meckvichai in litt. 2004). These include: Huai Kha Kheng Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand; Ujung Kulon and Baluran National Parks, Indonesia; Yok Don National Park, Vietnam; Lomphat, Phnom Prich and Kulen Promtep wildlife sanctuaries, Chhep and Eastern Mondulkiri protected forests and Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area, Cambodia; Xe Pian National Protected Area, Laos (Brickle 2002), and Shuangbai Konglonghe Nature Reserve, China (Liu et al. 2009). The core zone of Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area has recently been extended (T. Evans in litt. 2007) and increased education and patrolling is likely to improve the prospects for this important population, now known to number several hundred individuals. Extensive public awareness campaigns have been carried out in China and Laos. A captive breeding programme has been initiated in collaboration with the World Pheasant Association as a first step towards reintroducing birds into Peninsular Malaysia. The Cambodian Galliformes Conservation Programme through the Forestry Administration and the World Pheasant Association have conducted status surveys at a number of sites within north-west Cambodia. A model was developed to predict peafowl distribution and abundance at the landscape scale based upon distance to and from water and villages (Brickle 2002). In 2008, authorities in Java confiscated at least 17 individuals of this species from animal markets and residences (ProFauna Indonesia in litt. 2008).
Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue research into its range, status, habitat requirements and interactions with people to inform management within protected areas. Clarify its status in India. Further develop the captive-breeding programme and initiate additional conservation awareness campaigns in Myanmar and Cambodia, while continuing existing ones. Develop landscape-level management recommendations for key areas, including the establishment of new protected areas where appropriate. Promote strict enforcement of regulations relating to hunting and pesticide use within protected areas supporting populations in Indochina. Encourage a total ban on trade in live birds and train feathers in all range countries.
BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.
Brickle, N.W. 2002. Habitat use, predicted distribution and conservation of green peafowl (Pavo muticus) in Dak Lak Province, Vietnam. Biological Conservation 105(2): 189-197.
Brickle, N.W., Duckworth, J.W., Tordoff, A.W., Poole, C.M., Timmins, R. and McGowan, P.J.K. 2008. The status and conservation of Galliformes in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Biodiversity and Conservation 17(6): 1393-1427.
Choudhury. A. 2009. Birds of south Asia - the Ripley guide: book review. Newsletter and Journal of the Rhino Foundation for Nature in North-East India 8: 16-24.
Collar, N. J.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2013. Conservation breeding and avian diversity: chances and challenges. International Zoo Yearbook.
Evans, T.; Clements, T. 2004. Current status and future monitoring of Green Peafowl in southern Mondulkiri. Cambodia Bird News 12: 18-20.
Han, L.; Lu, Y.; Han, H. 2009. The status and distribution of green peafowl Pavo muticus in Yunnan Province, China. International Journal of Galliformes Conservation 1: 29-31.
Keane, A.M.; Garson, P.J.; McGowan, P.J. K. in press. Pheasants: status survey and conservation action plan 2005-2009. IUCN and WPA, Gland, Switzerland.
Liu, Y.; Han, L., Xie, Y.; Wen, Y.; Zhang, R. 2009. The status and distribution of green peafowl Pavo muticus in Shuangbai Konglonghe Nature Reserve, China. International Journal of Galliformes Conservation 1: 32-35.
Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Davidson, P., Keane, A., Taylor, J., Khwaja, N.
Brickle, N., Choudhury, A., Duckworth, W., Eames, J.C., Evans, T., Meckvichai, W., Pollard, E., Tran Vy, N.
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Pavo muticus. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 23/04/2014.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 23/04/2014.
This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000)
Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004)
Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife
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Additional resources for this species