The green peafowl (Pavo muticus)

Pavo muticus – The green peafowl

The green peafowl (Pavo muticus) is a peafowl species native to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia. It can be distinguished from the blue peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by its neck color: one with blue color and the other with green.

The green peafowl (Pavo muticus)
The green peafowl (Pavo muticus)
  • Family: Phasianidae
  • Genus: Pavo
  • Species: Pavo muticus
  • Subspecies: P. m. imperator
  • Vietnamese name: công, công xanh, công lục, công lục Đông Dương
Blue and green peafowls in Ha Nam
Blue and green peafowls in Ha Nam province

In Vietnam, the peacock subspieces name is Pavo muticus imperator. The green peafowl has become extinct in the northern part of the country, its last large population being confined to the southeast in Yok Đôn and Cát Tiên national parks.

Multi-color peafowls
Multi-color peafowls
White and Burmese peafowls
White and (possibly) Burmese peafowls

Peacock Farming

The word “peacock” is the name for the male peafowl. A peacock has a beautiful color, while a peahen has a dull color. “Peacock” sometimes is used to represent “peafowl” in general. In Vietnam, peacock farming becomes popular in recent years though each peafowl farm is limited in scale. Peacocks are farmed as a pet fowl, and are sold at very high prices.

The green peafowl (Pavo muticus) in a farm in Binh Dinh province
The green peafowl (Pavo muticus) in a farm in Binh Dinh province

Both the blue peafowl and the green peafowl are raised, but the blue one is more popular, possibly because the
green peafowls were previously introduced to some hatcheries.

A farmed green peacock in Daklak province
A farmed green peacock in Daklak province

A peafowl can live over 20 years. The tail feathers of a peacock are the most beautiful and brilliant when he reaches 5-6 years old.

Green peafowls in a farm in Can Tho
Green peafowls in a farm in Can Tho city

Peafowls can also be infected with some diseases like other poultry, such as diarrhea, flu …, but the immune system of peafowls is very good, and they rarely get sick.

feeding peafowls
Feeding peafowls like chicken.

Culinary uses

In Vietnam’s Middle Age, peacock meat was considered as a royal food, the one that only kings can eat. and have detoxification properties. There was a Vietnamese cliches “Nem công chả phượng” which consists of two parts: nem công and chả phượng.

  • “Nem” is raw meat cured by spicy ingredients like galangal. “Nem công” is such a dish made with pounded peafowl drummers and peafowl skin.
  • “Chả” is minced or chopped meat that is then grilled or fried. “Chả phượng” mean such a dish with phoenix meat.
peacock nem
Peacock nem – nem công

The peacock and phoenix dishes were created by a group of royal chefs known as Đội Thượng Thiện in Nguyễn Dynasty, and now such dishes become a symbol of elegance in Huế royal cuisine.

phoenix cha - cha phuong
Phoenix cha – Chả phượng

Peacocks are real but phoenixes are possibly just imaginary. The phoenix chả is often made with pheasant meat (Phasianus colchicus). Pheasants are now also farm-raised in Vietnam.

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