The Green Peafowl, Pavo muticus – also known as Dragonbird – is a large pheasant. It is one of two species in the genus Pavo., the other being the Blue or Indian Peafowl, commonly known as the Peacock.
Green Peafowl are powerful flyers that cover long distances as they travel from their deep forest roost to feeding sites in marsh pastures and along river banks.
This is a colorful pheasant and is sometimes considered the most beautiful member of its family.
The male Green Peafowl is up to 10 feet (~3 meters) long, including the “train” and weighs up to 11 pounds (~5kg).
He has a green tufted crest, different in shape to the fanned crest of the Blue and an iridescent metallic green color plumage with scaly appearance on its neck, breast and mantle.
His emerald green tail feathers have a series of eyes that are best seen when fanned.
The female averages 3.6 feet (~1.1 meter) in length and weighs up to 2.4 pounds (~1,1kg). The female’s plumage is mainly a dull grey-green and she lacks the long tail of the male.
The Green Peafowl is a forest bird which nests on the ground laying 3 to 6 eggs.
Their natural diet consists mainly of seeds, insects, reptiles, fruits and small animals. It is often called the Dragonbird because it hunts venomous snakes.
Taxonomy and Distribution:
There are three subspecies of the Green Peafowl:
- The nominate race Pavo muticus muticus of Java, Indonesia – the most brilliantly colored
- Pavo muticus spicifer from northeastern India and northwestern Myanmar that now is believed to be extinctPavo muticus imperator found in Indo-China
Some taxonomists believe that the endangered Green Peafowl is actually a complex of five distinct species although they are currently treated as one species with three subspecies.
- The Javanese Green Peafowl, Pavo muticus javanensis is an endemic found on the island of Java.
- The extinct Malay or Pahang Peafowl, Pavo muticus muticus, was earlier thought to be introduced by humans from Java, but fossils from the Pliocene epoch rules this out. However, this will create a controversy because the Javanese subspecies has “inherited” the name.
- The Yunnan Dragonbird Pavo muticus yunnanensis is the most distinctive form of Green Fowl and can be found in Northern Yunnan.
- The Arakan Dragonbird Pavo muticus spicifer was once native to northern western Myanmar, southern Tibet and Assam.
- The Indo-Chinese or Siamese Dragonbird Pavo muticus imperator was once native to southeast Myanmar and Thailand.
- The Annametic Dragonbird Pavo muticus annamensis inhabited the broadleaf evergreen forests of Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and southern Yunnan China.
Status in the Wild :
Due to hunting and a reduction in extent and quality of habitat, the Green Peafowl is evaluated as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is listed on Appendix II of CITES.