By Dr. Myint Thein (B.V.S), Translated by Khin Maung Win
One day, in the early morning I saw a man embracing a peacock with one hand and grabbing two legs of the peacock tightly with another hand in a busy road of Yangon, precisely speaking in Upper Pansodan road of Mingalataung Nyunt township. It seemed he is waiting a taxi. Normally a man waiting taxi is by no means interesting for everyone. Nevertheless, the peacock in his hand made me vigilant and inquisitive. When I got near him, I was so shocked and upset to see the peacock in his hand because it absolutely lacked the physical characteristics of the species of Myanmar Green Peacock. In my mind I despairingly dubbed that creature as “genetically obliterated and degraded peacock”. It had no features to be recognized as Myanmar Green Peacock.
In this case, I would like to explain about green peacock, blue peacock and white peacock which has been found in the world, especially about Myanmar species of Green peacock.
Though non-biologists or lay men cannot clearly identify the authenticity of Myanmar Green Peacock (Green Peafowl), scientific name of which is “Pavo muticus”, they are familiar with Blue Peacock (Indian Peafowl or Blue Peafowl), scientific name of which is “Pavo cristatus”. Many people have seen blue peacock from the photos or business advertisements. However, many people still are mistakenly recognized Blue Peacock as Green Peacock. It was noted when people tried to keep the peacock as pet animal, the India Blue Peacock and the White Peacock only are in their knowledge. Myanmar Green Peacock then was not widely known. So, it is very important to be able to differentiate between Myanmar Green Peacock and Indian Blue Peacock. Otherwise Myanmar Green peacock will vanish from existence as an outstanding species of peacock.
Even in the Green Peacock species (Pavo muticus), three different types can be classified depending on their geographical occurrence such as Indochina Green Peacock, Myanmar Green Peacock and Java Green Peacock.
Another noteworthy fact regarding green peacock and blue peacock is that they never occur in the same region and they are living in the different habitat having no way to meet each other in the natural habitat. According to the report of peacock specialist there are no different types or subspecies in Blue Peacock like Green Peacock. Male and female green peacock have similar characteristics in colour, shape and features.
To have the knowledge on the essential characteristics of a green peacock is important because without that knowledge one cannot correctly identify which is green peacock or which is blue peacock. Generally speaking both male and female green peacocks have more beautiful and attractive colour than Indian blue peacock. Head ornamentations and head features of green peacock is quite different from those of blue peacock. Therefore, green peacock can be easily distinguished from blue peacock by body colour , shade, tinge and color and features of the head. The lock of feather at the very top of the head of green peacock grow altogether straight upward in an organized way while it is upward fan-shaped in blue peacock. The colour of the cheek of green peacock is yellow and the feather of neck and breast is totally green while in blue peacock the feather in the part of neck and breast is blue. This is also an obvious feature to distinguish between green peacock and blue peacock. The feather all over the whole body is bright green and produces shining scaly appearance in green peacock. Female blue peahen is very similar in breast and neck feather to green peahen by having the same green colour. But the feather on other parts of body of blue peahen is brownish in colour. Green peacock and blue peacock are the same genus and male and female can mate to reproduce the offspring. The offspring reproduced have the yellowish colour on the face. The lock of feather or ornamentation on the head is also changed in style. It has fan-shaped lock of feather but a little bit less sideward extension. That means fan becomes narrower in spreading angle than that of blue peacock. Sometimes the breed of green and blue peacock has the leg longer than its parents. Scale-like appearance of the feather disappears, but it retains on the wings. The worst feature that has deviated from the parents is the ugly white patches on the whole length of the neck. Second or later generation of mixed blood between green peacock and blue peacock will certainly exhibit the colour and features quite different from the pedigree. It is a big problem in conserving the true pedigree of Myanmar Green Peacock.
Some bird enthusiasts are trying to produce a new breed which has different features and combination of colour by crossbreeding between green peacock and blue peacock. Some people appreciate the strange and unconventional combination of colour and features of the crossbred peacock. However, those new breeds showing no pedigree features, if viewed from the aspect of conservation value, will absolutely score zero. In other word they are scums.
Actually nature has placed those different species of peacock geographically apart not to be able to mate between them. However, man betrayed the nature and places the different species together to mate and produce a new product. The nature being blighted responds by a barrage of severe impacts on the crossbred product. Those impacts are rendering white patches on the neck, lock of head feathers not straight upward and arranged in disarray, green feather on body like green peacock, but with fan-shaped lock hair on the head like in blue peacock, and the colour of the cheek also corrupted to unattractive one. The most important disgrace is the loss of shining scale-like features on the body which is unique to the Myanmar Green Peacock. To put in a nutshell human has committed the grave mistake that result in the loss of the most valuable properties and genetic conservation of Myanmar Green Peacock.
Now it is time to turn to White Peacock. The white peacocks are not of the different species from green peacock (Pavo muticus) and blue peacock (Pavo cristatus). According to the research record, it is the result of colour mutation on blue peacock. Scholars studying on the peacock said that white peacock has no relation with green peacock. According to the staffs of Zoological Garden of Myanmar, some white peacocks are seen in the group of blue peacocks in the garden, but they have never seen white peacock offspring though the group of green peacocks are breeding many generations in many years. Now the green peacocks are included in the list of the most endangered species in South East Asia.
Excessive hunting and seriously spoilt habitat has increased the endangered level of the green peacocks in 2009. So, it is strongly suggested to breed the pedigree and genetically strong green peacocks to prevent the green peacocks from extinction. To sum up the articles, it is strongly urged to the lovers of natural resources and biodiversity of Myanmar to make concerted effort to try to keep 100% pedigree breed of green peacocks and to protect genetic variation of green peacocks. — (Translated by Khin Maung Win)
By Dr. Myint Thein (B.V.S), Translated by Khin Maung Win