Green Peafowl

Green Peafowl

Burmese peafowl, Green-necked peafowl, Java peafowl, Dragonbird

Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Pavo muticus
Population size
15-30 thou
Life Span
20 yrs
TOP SPEED
16 km/h
WEIGHT
3.8-5 kg
LENGTH
1-3 m
WINGSPAN
1.2-1.6 m

The Green peafowl is a beautiful member of the pheasant family native to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia. The male and the female are quite similar in appearance, especially in the wild. Both sexes have long upper tail coverts which cover the actual tail underneath. In the male, this extends up to 2 m and is decorated with eyespots, while in the female, the coverts are green and much shorter, just covering the tail. The neck and breast feathers of both sexes are iridescent green and resemble scales. The facial skin is double striped with a white to light blue and beside the ear is a yellow to orange crescent. The dark triangle below the eye towards the eyebrow is bluish-green in the male and brown in the female. Seen from a distance, Green peafowl are generally dark-colored birds with pale vermillion- or buff-colored flight feathers, which are quite visible in their flight.

Distribution

Green peafowl were widely distributed in Southeast Asia in the past but now only patchily distributed in China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Thailand, and Viet Nam. These birds are found in a wide range of habitats, including primary and secondary forest, both tropical and subtropical, as well as evergreen and deciduous. They may also be found amongst bamboo, on grasslands, savannas, scrub, and farmland edge. In Vietnam, the preferred habitat was found to be dry, deciduous forest close to the water, and away from human disturbance.

Green Peafowl habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Green peafowl are forest birds that usually spend time on or near the ground in tall grasses and sedges. At night family units roost in trees at a height of 10-15 m (33-49 ft). During the day they can be found in small groups spending their time foraging on the ground, drinking, preening, and resting in the shade. They look for their food scratching around in leaf litter either early in the morning or at dusk. Green peafowl are generally silent. The males usually call from their roost sites every morning and at dawn and dusk and have a loud call of 'ki-wao'. The females' call is a loud 'aow-aa' ” repeated at short intervals; males, however, may also make a similar call.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Green peafowl are omnivores. Their diet consists mainly of fruits, seeds, invertebrates, reptiles, frogs, and rodents. They can even hunt venomous snakes.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
April-June
INCUBATION PERIOD
26-28 days
FEMALE NAME
peahen
MALE NAME
peacock
BABY NAME
peachick
BABY CARRYING
3-6 eggs

Green peafowl are believed to be polygynous; this means that one male can mate with more than one female. However, males are solitary and do not display in leks; they are highly territorial and form harems with no pair bonds. In captivity, these birds have been observed to be strongly monogamous (one male to one female). Breeding occurs between April and June and during this time males perform courtship displays to attract the female. When the pair is formed, the birds will nest on the ground in a very protected site laying 3 to 6 eggs. Incubation usually lasts during 26-28 days done by the female. Chicks are precocial; they are hatched with eyes open and are able to leave the nest very soon after hatching. The young can fly 2 weeks after hatching but usually remain in the family group until the next breeding season.

Population

Population threats

Green peafowl are threatened due to loss of habitat and hunting for their beautiful feathers as well as for food. Although there is no natural range overlap with the Indian peafowl, hybridization is still another threat where the Indian peafowl is introduced as they produce fertile hybrids. In captivity, hybrids are called "Spalding" peafowl and are used by breeders to create different breeds. Through backcrossing, some hybrids become almost indistinguishable from pure Green peafowl. As the species as a whole is sometimes called "Java peafowl" in aviculture, the subspecies of Green peafowl are also mixed in captivity and there are many captive birds of unknown provenance. In some areas of their native range, captive Green peafowl have sometimes been released in the vicinity of a breeding station even though their true origins remain unknown. Wild Green peafowl also suffer from poisoning in some areas as they are regarded as a crop pest by farmers.

Population number

According to the IUCN Red List, the total Green peafowl population size is around 15,000-30,000 individuals. This includes 10,000-19,999 mature individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The Green peafowl was an ancient symbol of the monarchs of Burma. It was also shown during British colonial times on the flag of the governor and the naval ensign, as well as on the flag of the State of Burma from 1943-1945 and on the currency of independent Burma as well.
  • Despite their large size, Green peafowl are capable of sustained flight and are often observed on the wing.
  • Green peafowl are not picky and will eat almost anything they can fit in their beak and digest. However, ticks, termites, flower petals, buds leaves, and berries are their favorite foods.
  • Male peafowl are referred to as peacocks, and female peafowl as peahens, though peafowl of either sex are often referred to colloquially as "peacocks."
  • Male peafowl are known for their piercing calls and their extravagant plumage. The latter is especially prominent in the Asiatic species, which have an eye-spotted "tail" or "train" of covert feathers, which they display as part of a courtship ritual.
  • In Persia and Babylonia, the peacock is seen as a guardian to royalty and is often engraved upon royal thrones.

References

1. Green Peafowl on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_peafowl
2. Green Peafowl on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22679440/131749282

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