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What is a Green Peafowl?

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  • Written By: S. Ashraf
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2016
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A green peafowl, or Pavo muticus, is a large member of the pheasant family of birds and is native to the tropical forest areas of Southeast Asia. Males of this species, called peacocks, grow to be about 10 feet (3 m) in length and weigh about 11 pounds (5 kg) when their long train is included. Females, called peahens, are smaller and can grow to be as long as 3.5 feet (1.1 m) and weigh up to 2.4 pounds (1.1 kg). These birds have an average wingspan of about 4 feet (1.2 m). In addition to being smaller than the male, the female lacks a train and is dull grayish-green in color; the colors of the male are iridescent.

The color and train of the male green peafowl are the most distinguishing physical characteristics of this species. A male green peafowl is brilliantly colored with feathers that shimmer in shades of bronze, blue and green. The male’s train is formed by more than 200 feathers, some as long as 6 feet (about 1.8 m), and it accounts for approximately 60 percent of the peacock's weight. On the end of each tail feather is a very colorful marking, usually in a shade of red, blue or gold, which is shaped like an eye and has a ring of bronze and blue around it. When the length of its train and its wingspan are combined, the male green peafowl is one of the largest flying birds in the world.

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Geographically, the green peafowl used to range widely throughout Southeast Asia, but its distribution has been reduced by hunting and habitat destruction. This bird is now distributed, somewhat patchily, in western Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, Laos, southern Vietnam and Java. It no longer appears in the wild in Malaysia, India and Bangladesh.

For habitat, the green peafowl likes locations that have a good water supply. These birds prefer to live in open lowland forests. They can also be found on grasslands, in scrub and areas where there is bamboo.

Green peafowls are ground feeders. They eat plants, fruits, berries and insects. As omnivores, peafowls also hunt reptiles and other small animals, including venomous snakes.

Breeding season is from approximately mid-spring to early summer. The male displays his train of tail feathers as a fan to attract a female. He forms a harem of as many as five hens. Each female builds a nest on the ground and lays four to six eggs, which she incubates. The chicks hatch in about a month and are able to fly approximately two weeks after hatching.

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