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Green peafowl facts for kids

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Green peafowl
Okyo Peacock and Peahen.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Pavo muticus
Linnaeus, 1766

The green peafowl (Pavo muticus) is a bird native to Southeast Asia.


Pavo muticus3
Adult Female Head and Upper Neck

The sexes of Green Peafowl are quite similar in appearance, especially in the field. During most of the year, when the males have no visible trains, it is quite difficult to distinguish the sexes. Both sexes have tall pointed crests, and are long-legged, heavy-winged and long-tailed in silhouette. Seen from a distance, they are generally dark coloured birds with pale vermillion or buff coloured primaries which are quite visible in their peculiar flight which has been described as a true flapping flight with little gliding that one associates with Galliform birds.

The males of the subspecies imperator and spicifer are overall bluish-green, the former having a metallic-green breast, neck, wing-coverts and outer webs of secondaries, whereas the latter has a duller, bluer breast and neck, and more black on the wing-coverts and outer web of secondaries. Compared to these, Nominate muticus is overall more golden-green and has less blue on the neck and breast. Considerable variation exists in plumage of neck and breast which may be linked with age and sex.

The male of the Green Peafowl have a loud call of ki-wao, which is often repeated. The female has a loud aow-aa call with an emphasis on the first syllable. The males call from their roost sites at dawn and dusk.

Green Peafowl are large birds, one of the largest living Galliforms in terms of overall length and wingspan, though rather lighter-bodied than the Wild Turkey. The male grows up to 3 meters (10 ft) long, including the "train" and weighs up to 5 kg (11 lbs). The female is 1.1 meter (3.5 ft) long and weighs about 1.1 kg (2.4 lbs). It has large wingspan of approximately 1.2 m (4 ft). Unlike Indian Peafowl, the Green Peafowl is a better flier and capable of sustained flight.

Distribution and habitat

The Green Peafowl was widely distributed in Southeast Asia in the past from northern Myanmar and southern China, extending through Laos, and Thailand into Vietnam, Cambodia, Peninsular Malaysia and the islands of Java. The ranges have reduced with habitat destruction and hunting. They are now a protected species of India.

Green Peafowls 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 water and away from human disturbance. Proximity to water appears to be an important factor.


Following the advice of his Hong Kong bird dealer, World Pheasant Association founder and ornithologist Jean Delacour recognized three races of Green Peafowl. Today most authorities recognize these three:

  • P. m. muticus (nominate). Found in Java. Was also known from the Malay Peninsula from the northern part extending south to Kedah.
  • P. m. imperator. From Burma to Thailand, southern China and Indochina.
  • P. m. spicifer. Found in northwestern Burma. Formerly also north-eastern India and Bangladesh.

Green Peafowls are found today in Southeast Asia in mainland Burma, Yunnan, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and on the island of Java in Indonesia. They are absent from both Sumatra and Borneo. Records from northeastern India have been questioned and old records are possibly of feral birds.


Peafowl at the Taipei Zoo
Male profile

The Green Peafowl is a forest bird which nests on the ground laying 3 to 6 eggs.

It has been widely believed without quantification that the Green Peafowl is polygynous, the male having no parental responsibilities whatsoever.

However, the theory that the male is polygynous also conflicts with observations in captivity; pairs left alone with no human interaction have been observed to be strongly monogamous. The close similarity between both sexes also suggests a different breeding system in contrast to that of the Indian Peafowl.

They usually spend time on or near the ground in tall grasses and sedges. Like other peafowl, the Green Peafowl love to wade and forage for food in the shallows for a good portion of each day. Family units roost in trees at a height of 10–15 m. The diet consists mainly of fruits, invertebrates, reptiles, and other small animals. As with the other member of its genus, the Green Peafowl can even hunt venomous snakes, making them useful for pest control. Ticks and termites, flower petals, buds leaves and berries are favorite foods of adult peafowl. Frogs and other aquatic small animals probably make up the bulk of the diet of growing birds.

Green Peafowl occupy a similar ecological niche as the unrelated Secretary Bird, seriamas, and bustards. That is to say, Green Peafowl hunt for small animals on the ground in tropical savannah. Like these other predatory bird species, Green Peafowl are monogamous and enjoy prolonged relationships with their offspring. All these cursorial hunters display delayed maturity, are long-legged, heavy-winged, with prominent crests and long, broad tails.


Their natural predators include large cats; the Clouded Leopard, Leopard, Tiger, Jungle Cat and Fishing Cat prey on adult birds.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Pavo muticus para niños

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