Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Grey peacock-pheasant

Binomial name: Polyplectron bicalcaratum (Carolus Linnaeus, 1758)

The grey peacock-pheasant (Polyplectron bicalcaratum), also known as Burmese peacock-pheasant, is a large Asian member of the order Galliformes. It is the national bird of Myanmar.

Description

It is a large pheasant, up to 76 cm long and greyish brown with finely spotted green eyespots, an elongated bushy crest, bare pink or yellow facial skin, white throat, and grey iris, bill and legs. The sexes are rather similar, but the female is smaller, darker and less ornamented than the male. The young resemble the female.

Distribution and ecology

The grey peacock-pheasant is distributed in lowland and hill forests of Northeast India and Southeast Asia, but excluding most of Indochina as well as the entire Malayan Peninsula. The diet consists mainly of seeds, termites, fruits and invertebrates. The female usually lays two eggs.

Status and conservation

Widespread throughout its large range, the grey peacock-pheasant is evaluated as a Species of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is listed on CITES Appendix II, restricting trade in wild-caught birds to preserve its stocks.

Systematics

Three subspecies are recognized today as good, while an additional one is of unclear validity:

  • Polyplectron bicalcaratum bicalcaratum (Carolus Linnaeus, 1758) – Common grey peacock-pheasant
  • Polyplectron bicalcaratum ghigii (Jean Théodore Delacour & Pierre Jabouille, 1924) – Ghigi's grey peacock-pheasant
  • Polyplectron bicalcaratum bailyi (Percy Roycroft Lowe, 1925) – Lowe's grey peacock-pheasant (disputed)
  • Polyplectron bicalcaratum bakeri (Percy Roycroft Lowe, 1925) – Northern grey peacock-pheasant

One previous subspecies, the Hainan peacock-pheasant (P. b. katsumatae), has since been given approved species (AS) status by the IOC.

Lowe's grey peacock-pheasant was described from a captive bird of unknown provenance. Similar examples have turned up on occasion, but the validity and – if distinct – home range of this taxon remains unknown. It was theorized to inhabit western Assam or the eastern Himalayas, but this is based on conjecture.

The phylogeny of this species is fairly enigmatic. mtDNA cytochrome b and D-loop as well as the nuclear ovomucoid intron G sequence data confirms that it belongs to a largely Continental Asian clade together with Germain's peacock-pheasant (P. germaini), but also the "brown" southern species bronze-tailed peacock-pheasant (P. chalcurum) and mountain peacock-pheasant (P. inopinatum).

The ovomucin sequence seems to have evolved convergently or with a decreased mutational rate on the grey and the bronze-tailed peacock-pheasant. Though they are quite similar on the molecular level, the distance and interspersed populations of their closest relatives argue against a much more recently shared common ancestry between them versus the other two "northern" peacock-pheasants. Also, the cytochrome b and D-loop data does not support a closer relationship between P. bicalcaratus and P. chalcurum; overall, as it seems the four species' ancestors separated during a very short timespan.

Note however that in the absence of dedicated phylogeographic studies, the molecular data is only of limited value in this species, the most morphologically diverse and widespread peacock-pheasant: There is no data on the origin and number of specimens, but it is unlikely that more than one or two individuals – possibly of captive origin and undeterminable subspecific allocation – were sampled. All that can be reasonably assumed is that the grey peacock-pheasant evolved on mainland Southeast Asia, probably during the Late Pliocene to Early Pleistocene 3.6-1 million years ago.

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Videos of Grey peacock-pheasant

  • Grey peacock-pheasant - Mae Wong National Park, Thailand

    Grey peacock-pheasant - Mae Wong National Park, Thailand

  • Grey peacock-pheasant

    Grey peacock-pheasant

  • Grey peacock-pheasant - Mae Wong National Park

    Grey peacock-pheasant - Mae Wong National Park

  • Grey peacock-pheasant - Kaeng Krachan National Park

    Grey peacock-pheasant - Kaeng Krachan National Park

  • Grey peacock-pheasant

    Grey peacock-pheasant

  • Grey peacock-pheasant

    Grey peacock-pheasant

  • Grey peacock-pheasant

    Grey peacock-pheasant

  • Grey peacock pheasant - Kaeng Krachan National

    Grey peacock pheasant - Kaeng Krachan National

Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Galliformes
Family
Phasianidae
Genus
Polyplectron
Species
Polyplectron bicalcaratum

Common names

  • English: Grey eacock-pheasant

Subspecies

  • Polyplectron bicalcaratum bailyi (Percy Roycroft Lowe, 1925) - Lowe's grey peacock-pheasant (disputed)
  • Polyplectron bicalcaratum bakeri (Percy Roycroft Lowe, 1925) - Northern grey peacock-pheasant
  • Polyplectron bicalcaratum bicalcaratum (Carolus Linnaeus, 1758)

    Common name(s): Common grey peacock-pheasant

  • Polyplectron bicalcaratum ghigii (Jean Théodore Delacour & Pierre Jabouille, 1924)

    Common name(s): Ghigi's grey peacock-pheasant

Grey peacock-pheasant is found in following locations in Thailand

Please note that this non-official list is not complete nor necessarily accurate. This list is a summary of checklists from other websites, blogs, publications, photo/videos published on various websites or our own findings. We appreciate your contributions with photo proof.

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Grey peacock-pheasant

Grey peacock-pheasant

Copyright iStockphoto,

Range map of Polyplectron bicalcaratum in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are generated automatically based on very limited data we have about the protected sites, the data is not necessarily accurate. Please help us to improve our range maps by sharing your findings/knowledge.