Biodiv Sci ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (11): 1554-1564.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2021144

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A review on the ecology and conservation biology of green peafowl (Pavo muticus)

Bojian Gu, Fang Wang()   

  1. Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, School of Life Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai 200438
  • Received:2021-04-15 Accepted:2021-09-26 Online:2021-11-20 Published:2021-11-12
  • Contact: Fang Wang


Background & Aim The green peafowl (Pavo muticus) is listed as Class-I National Key Protected Wildlife in China and has irreplaceable value in China’s traditional culture. Historically, green peafowl were widely distributed across Southern China, but now its range is restricted to a few locations in Yunnan Province. There have been several studies that described the status and ecological traits of green peafowl in China, however, key information relating to population size and its adaptations to anthropogenic disturbance is still poorly understood. Furthermore, the green peafowl in Southeast Asia has also experienced drastic decline in both population size and distribution in the past 50 years. The studies on green peafowls’ biology, ecology, and conservation planning in Southeast Asia could inform related research and conservation strategies in China. In this paper, we reviewed previous studies related to green peafowls’ ecology and conservation research, and summarized green peafowls’ population dynamics, habitat use and interspecific interactions with sympatric species in China and Southeast Asia. Based on these results, we proposed suggestions for future research and conservation planning.
Review Results The wild population of green peafowl has less than 500 individuals in China, only distributed in Yunnan Province. In Southeast Asia, green peafowl is distributed in four strong-holds in Indo-China Peninsula and Java Island, in which the Eastern Plains landscape on the border of Cambodia and Vietnam holds the largest habitat and population. Studies conducted in Southeast Asia revealed that green peafowls had strong dependence on water resources and were associated with tropical dry forest, but were absent in tropical rain forest. They often herd with large ungulates such as banteng (Bos javanicus). Studies on habitat use demonstrated a significant variation in habitat use between dry and rainy season. Tiger (Panthera tigris), leopard (P. pardus), Asiatic golden cat (Catopuma temminckii) and civets (Viverridae spp.) were recognized as the green peafowl’s main predators. Poaching and habitat loss resulting from agriculture expansion and infrastructure construction are the main anthropogenic threats to green peafowls.
Perspectives We suggest that a long-term monitoring network combining camera trap and sign transect surveys are important for the conservation of green peafowl. Molecular biology can also help understand the conservation genetics of green peafowl. Most importantly, we strongly recommend that new protected areas along the river valleys of upper Red River where large habitat patches of tropical dry forest remain should be established. Patrols in green peafowl habitat should be enforced to protect against poaching. Furthermore, restoration of degenerated green peafowls’ habitats should be initiated. Finally, Indian peafowl (Pavo cristatus) farms should be prohibited in and around green peafowl habitat in order to prevent genetic contamination.

Key words: green peafowl, conservation biology, distribution area, habitat use, threatening factor, conservation management