• The green peafowl (Pavo muticus) is an endangered species of bird once common to most of Asia. Now its range has shrunk to primarily Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Vietnam, with only remnant populations found elsewhere. Current estimates place the population between 5,000 and 30,000 individuals. Less well-known than its cousin, the Indian peafowl (commonly known as the peacock, although that name refers only to males; females are called peahens), the green peafowl shares with it many characteristics, from its iridescent coloring to the exaggerated, decorative tail feathers of the male.

    Green peafowl are protected by law in China and can be found in protected parks and reserves in most of the countries where they are found today. Human settlements continue to expand, however, and bans on hunting can be difficult or impossible to enforce in remote regions. The species is continually hunted for its meat, while males especially are hunted for their extravagant tail feathers. Eggs and chicks are also collected for illegal trade throughout their range. As a result, the population is under a continued decline. Some actions have been taken to slow the population decline, including increased enforcement of hunting and trading bans and a captive-breeding program is underway to help reestablish the population in parts of Myanmar and Malaysia.

    1. Where can the green peafowl be found today?

      Previously common throughout most of Asia, it is now primarily found in Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

    2. What do hunters and poachers seek when hunting the green peafowl?

      The green peafowl is hunted for its meat, tail feathers, and for illegal trade.

    3. What steps have been taken to help remedy the species’ decline?

      Increased enforcement of hunting and trading bans and the establishment of a captive-breeding program are meant to help the green peafowl maintain its population.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    captive-breeding program Noun

    plans, research, and work done by an organization, such as a zoo, to control reproduction of rare species in that organization's facilities (not in the wild).

    decline Verb

    to reduce or go down in number.

    endangered species Noun

    organism threatened with extinction.

    Encyclopedic Entry: endangered species
    estimate Verb

    to guess based on knowledge of the situation or object.

    population Noun

    total number of people or organisms in a particular area.

    remnant Noun

    something that is left over.

    remote Adjective

    distant or far away.