Green Peafowl

(Pavo muticus)

WPA Photo

Other Names: Green-necked Peafowl, Burmese Peafowl, Java Peafowl

Subspecies: There are three subspecies: (P. m. muticus) native to Malaysia and Java, (P. m. spicifer) from northeastern India & northwestern Myanmar (now believed to be extinct) and (P. m. imperator) found in Indo-China.

Range: South-east Asia

Habitat: Forests and scrubland.

Description: A very beautiful bird, more upright in stance than the India Blue. The overall coloration of metallic green feathers tipped with black, give the appearance of scales. The crest of this species stands nearly erect compared to the broad crest of its Indian relative; bare skin of blue and yellow beneath the eye, dark bluish-green metallic feathers on the remainder of the head and neck. The wing coverts are dark green and blue, with the flight feathers chestnut. The tail is similar to the India Blue, but is somewhat darker at the base and has a golden sheen throughout the train. There is slight variation between the subspecies: muticus is the brightest green of the three with bright iridescent blue and green wing coverts; spificer is much duller and there is more blue in the plumage than muticus and imperator; imperator is similar to muticus, but can be distinguished by having darker flanks, abdomen and secondaries and much lighter facial skin.

Description, Female: Unlike the India Blue, the hen of this species is similar to the male. She lacks the brilliant sheen and gloss of the male, but does have the scaling of the feathers. Her tail is also fairly long. Some hens may develop spurs.

Status in Wild: The Green Peafowl, as a whole species, is considrered vulnerable to endangered in the wild. spicifer is believed now to be extinct; imperator are found in scattered populations in Yunnan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand; muticus is found only on Java, with perhaps only 1,000 left in the wild.

Misc. Natural History Notes: Now eliminated from much of the originial range. Habitat loss and hunting primary threats. Pavo is Latin for peafowl. muticus is Latin for docked or curtailed.

Avicultural Data

Status in Aviculture: This species is fairly common in aviaries, however, it is unknown the purity of captive birds.

Breeding Season: Late April to June

Breeding Age: Third year, however, second year hens may lay fertile eggs if kept with an older male.

Clutch Size: 4-6

Incubation Period: 26-28; the chicks grow quickly, able to fly good distances at two weeks of age.

Misc. Aviculture Notes: Not as hardy as the India Blue, this species requires protection from the winter in northern climates. Males can sometimes be aggressive towards their keepers.

Will hybridize with Pavo cristatus in captivity and this is done on purpose to produce birds known as the Spaulding . Since this species is declining in the wild, a good captive breeding base is needed to insure its survival. The fact that these hybrids are produced as greatly damaged the captive bloodlines and breeding hybrids should be discouraged. As far as I know, there is no studbook for Green Peafowl.

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Photo Credits
(l to r): 1, Kristin Cowell.

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Dan Cowell