Polyplectron malacense 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Galliformes Phasianidae

Scientific Name: Polyplectron malacense
Species Authority: (Scopoli, 1786)
Common Name(s):
English Malay Peacock-pheasant, Crested Peacock-pheasant, Malayan Peacock-Pheasant
Spanish Espolonero Malayo, Faisán de Cola Ocelada Malayo, Faisán Real Malayo
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
Identification information: Male 50-53.5 cm, female 40-45 cm. Rusty-brown, crested peacock-pheasant. Similar spp. Warmer brown than extralimital Grey Peacock-pheasant P. bicalcaratum, with greener ocelli, long, dark green-glossed crest, blacker crown and hindneck, darker ear-coverts (contrast with pale surround), orange-pink facial skin and plainer underparts. Female, smaller and shorter tailed, with very short crest, blacker and more pointed ocelli, indistinct paler scaling above, more uniform underparts and yellower facial skin. Voice Male territorial call is loud, slow, melancholy puu pwoii (second note more drawn and rising). Also, sudden explosive cackle, running to throaty clucks: tchi-tchi-tchao-tchao wuk-wuk-wuk-wuk-wuk.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2cd+3cd+4cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Aik, Y. & Davison, G.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Bird, J., Davidson, P., Keane, A., Taylor, J.
This species qualifies as Vulnerable because it has undergone a rapid population decline and its small population is becoming increasingly fragmented with progressive erosion of its specialised lowland forest habitat.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2012 Vulnerable (VU)
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2004 Vulnerable (VU)
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1996 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Vulnerable (VU)
1988 Threatened (T)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Polyplectron malacense is endemic to Peninsular Malaysia and possibly southern peninsular Thailand. Reports of its occurrence in Sumatra have been refuted, and evidence for its occurrence in Myanmar is flawed. It is possibly already extinct in Thailand, and its range in Malaysia has contracted dramatically - in 1997, it remained in just 54% of localities known before 1970. Remaining subpopulations are now restricted to a few forest blocks in which they are unevenly distributed, although it is apparently still common in several protected areas.

Countries occurrence:
Possibly extinct:
Regionally extinct:
Present - origin uncertain:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 117000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 11-100
Continuing decline in number of locations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 300
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  This species is suspected to be declining rapidly, owing to on-going habitat loss and fragmentation and localised hunting pressure.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 1500-7000 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 2-100 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is an extreme lowland specialist, resident in tall primary and secondary (including lightly logged) lowland dipterocarp forest, usually from just 15 to 80 m, and never above c.300 m, on level or gently sloping ground. Studies have found increased calling levels and numbers of display scrapes in mast fruiting years, when there are higher invertebrate densities, suggesting that distribution and reproductive output may be limited by food supply.

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 5
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Lowland forest clearance and modification for cultivation remain the major threats. Only 25% of suitable habitat that was available for the species prior to 1970 remains today. Hunting for food, sport and the bird trade presumably contributed to its probable extinction in Thailand. Whilst it is susceptible to snaring targeted at all ground foraging animals, there is no evidence to indicate it is particularly sought after in Malaysia.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. Important populations occur in at least two protected areas, Taman Negara and Krau Wildlife Reserve, and further populations have been reported at Sungai Dusun Wildlife Reserve (Selangor) and a number of Forest Reserves that do not qualify as protected areas under wildlife legislation, including Pasoh (Negeri Sembilan). PERHILITAN is embarking on a captive breeding and release programme with plans to release birds in parts of its historic range (Yeap Chin Aik in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Determine its precise habitat requirements and response to habitat alterations. Conduct surveys to clarify current distribution patterns and subpopulation status for all known populations, particularly in and around Taman Negara and Krau Support proposals for heightened status and stricter management guidelines and protection measures at Krau Wildlife Reserve. Develop support mechanisms for key IBAs in peninsular Malaysia and support and extend captive-breeding efforts.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2013. Polyplectron malacense. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T22679385A48038665. . Downloaded on 29 November 2015.
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