Hainan Peacock-pheasant Polyplectron katsumatae


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a small population which continues to decline because of hunting and habitat loss. Much of its range is now fragmented and the species occurs in numerous small subpopulations that are assumed to be isolated from another. For this reason it is listed as Endangered.

Population justification
The population was estimated at 2,700 individuals in 1990 (Gao and Yu 1990). In 1993, a density (based on visual observations) of 3.74 individuals/km2 was estimated (Gao 1998). Applying this density estimate to the area of available of habitat in 2018 (per Savini et al. [2021]) of 1,663 km2 and a habitat occupancy rate of c. 0.3 inferred from camera trapping data by Mo et al. (2021) in Hainan Jianfengling National Nature Reserve, yields a more recent estimate of 1,865 individuals, equivalent to c.1,230 mature individuals. Allowing for uncertainties introduced by not using contemporaneous data sources, the population is estimated here to fall in the band 700-2,000 mature individuals.
Liang and Zhang (2011) identified 18 sites with records of the species. Accounting for its small home range (inferred from radio-tracking data) and the species' avoidance of even well-vegetated plantations (Liang and Zhang 2011), it is assumed that the population is comprised of many novel subpopulations with little to no gene flow between them. Based on the values used to calculate the total population size, it is considered likely that no single population contains more than 51-250 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Recent data indicate that forest loss in this species' range has been slow. Including only patches >40 km2 in their analysis, Savini et al. (2021) estimated a c.3% contraction in suitable habitat between 2000 and 2018, while Global Forest Watch (2021) indicate a similar rate of c.4% forest loss over three generations (18 years; Bird et al. 2020) between 2002 and 2020. Hunting pressure however remains relatively high: of 169 local people interviewed (Wang et al. 2021), 77 knew of the species and 20 responded with exploitation-related knowledge (trade and price, hunting, consumption, use as medicine, and ornamental use). The additive impacts of these threats are inferred to be causing a slow ongoing decline, especially given its extirpation from formerly occupied sites (BirdLife International 2001).

Distribution and population

Polyplectron katsumatae is endemic to the island of Hainan, China (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Madge and McGowan 2002, Chang et al. 2008, Collar 2009).


This species inhabits dense evergreen and semi-evergreen forests at 200-1,300 m, with reports also from lower elevations (Liang and Zhang 2011).


Habitat loss and hunting appear to have caused declines since the 1950s, and continue to be significant threats to the species (Chang et al. 2008, Liang Wei in litt. 2010, Zhang Zhengwang in litt. 2010, Global Forest Watch 2021, Savini et al. 2021). By the 1980s only c. 10% of Hainan remained forested (Chang et al. 2008).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
This is a Class I Protected Species in China. It is known from several natural reserves on Hainan including Jianfengling, Bawangling, Diaoluoshan and Wuzhishan National Nature Reserves, as well as eight Provincial Nature Reserves (Liang and Zhang 2011). However the effectiveness of these protections is poorly known and hunting has regularly been recorded within many of them (Liang and Zhang 2011, Wang et al. 2021). A captive stock is held by the South China Institute for Endangered Animals (Davison et al. 2012).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Re-estimate population densities to establish a more accurate population size and develop monitoring techniques to establish populations trends. Continue to monitor habitat loss and fragmentation on Hainain using remote sensing data.
Establish further protected areas and ensure effective enforcement within their boundaries. Enforce regulations within current protected areas. Raise awareness for the current conservation status of the species and develop captive-breeding programmes for future population supplementation and reintroduction (Collar and Butchart 2013).


53cm. Forward-pointing bushy crest and vermiculated grey-brown plumage. Extensive, large ocelli on upperparts, each spot green or blue with buffish or bold white surround. Upper throat whitish bare facial skin pinkish or yellowish. Similar spp. Grey Peacock-pheasant P. bicalcaratum is larger, has a longer crest, and smaller ocelli with less bold white surrounds. Voice Male gives a relatively loud and melodious guang-gui, with the first note being more prolonged. Female utters a more rapid ga.


Text account compilers
Berryman, A.

Calvert, R., Liang, W., Taylor, J. & Zhang, Z.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Polyplectron katsumatae. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/03/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/03/2023.