Congo peacock

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Congo peacock
Afropavo congensis -Antwerp Zoo -pair-8a.jpg
A pair at Antwerp Zoo

(male on left of picture and female on right)

Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Subfamily: Phasianinae
Genus: Afropavo
Chapin, 1936
Species: A. congensis
Binomial name
Afropavo congensis
Chapin, 1936

The Congo peacock (Afropavo congensis), known as the mbulu by the Congolese, a species of peafowl.[2]


Very little is known about this species. It was first recorded as a species in 1936 by Dr. James Chapin after his failed searching for the okapi. He noticed the native headdresses which contained long reddish-brown feathers that he couldn't identify with any previously known species. Later, Chapin visited the Royal Museum of Central Africa and saw two stuffed specimens with similar feathers in 1936 labeled as the 'Indian peacock' which he later described to be actually the Congo peacock, a completely different species. In 1955, he managed to find seven specimens of the species alive. It has characteristics of both the peafowl and the guineafowl, which may indicate that the Congo peacock is a link between the two families.[3]


The male is a large bird of up to 64–70 cm (25–28 in) in length. Its feathers are deep blue with a metallic green and violet tinge. It has bare red neck skin, grey feet, and a black tail with fourteen feathers. Its head is adorned with vertical white elongated hair-like feathers on its crown. The female measures up to 60–63 cm (24–25 in) and is generally a chestnut brown bird with a black abdomen, metallic green back, and a short chestnut brown crest. Both sexes resemble immature Asian peafowl, with early stuffed birds being erroneously classified as such before they were officially discovered as a unique species.[4]

Diet and behavior[edit]

They are omnivores with a diet consisting mainly of fruits, invertebrates, and insects they find while foraging in forests. The male has a similar display to other peacocks, fanning its tail in this case, while other peacocks fan their upper tail coverts. The male Congo peacock is monogamous, though information from the wild is needed. The male of the species has a high-pitched "gowe" calling noise while the female emits a low "gowah". They will have loud duets consisting of "rro-ho-ho-o-a" from both.


It inhabits and is endemic to the Central Congolian lowland forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is also considered as the National bird of the DRC.


Due to ongoing habitat loss, small population size and hunting pressure in some areas, the Congo peacock is evaluated as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Their current population is estimated to be between 2,500 and 9,000 individual adults. Several breeding programs for the species have been started including ones at zoos such as Antwerp Zoo in Belgium and Salonga National Park.[5]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Afropavo congensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Dowsett, R. J.; Forbes-Watson, A. D. 1993. Checklist of birds of the Afrotropical and Malagasy regions. Tauraco Press, Li
  3. ^ "Congo Peafowl". World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  4. ^ BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Afropavo congensis. Downloaded from on 04/03/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 04/03/2014.
  5. ^ Collar, N. J.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2013. Conservation breeding and avian diversity: chances and challenges. International Zoo Yearbook.

External links[edit]