Malay Peacock-pheasant Polyplectron malacense


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. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- A2cd+3cd+4cd A2cd+3cd+4cd

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2022 Endangered A2cd+3cd+4cd
2016 Vulnerable A2cd+3cd+4cd
2013 Vulnerable A2cd+3cd+4cd
2012 Vulnerable A2cd+3cd+4cd
2008 Vulnerable A2c,d; A3c,d; A4c,d
2004 Vulnerable
2000 Vulnerable
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Vulnerable
1988 Threatened
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency High
Land mass type Land-mass type - continent
Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 102,000 medium
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals not applicable not applicable 0
Population trend Decreasing poor inferred -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 50-70,60-70 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 50-70,60-70 - - -
Number of subpopulations 2-100 - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation 1-89 - - -
Generation length (yrs) 6.9 - - -

Population justification: The population size has been previously suggested to fall into the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals, based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. However there is no density estimate available for this species, and those of congeners (none of which are as tied to plains-level forest as this) range too widely to allow for an accurate inference. The area of suitable habitat was estimated by Savini et al. (2021) to be 5,205 km2, however their methodology excluded all patches <40 km2. Ascertaining this species' persistence in smaller forest patches should be considered a priority for research as well as developing new densities to allow for the producing of a new global population estimate.

Trend justification: Forest loss in Thai-Malay Peninsula's plains-level forest, to which this species is confined, has been extremely rapid and does not appear to be slowing. Global Forest Watch (2021) (using Hansen et al. [2013] data and methods disclosed therein) data indicate that total forest cover loss within suitable elevations in the range of the species was 44-50% between 2000 and 2020, equivalent to 46-51% over three generations (20.7 years; Bird et al. 2020). Similarly, Savini et al. (2021) estimated using compositional analysis and GBIF (2019) data, that between 2000 and 2018, the area of suitable habitat declined by c.33%, equivalent to c.39% over three generations. The total area of patches >40 km2 in this species's range fell rapidly (by 84%) from c.32,500 km2 to c.5,200 km2 between 2000 and 2018 (Savini et al. 2021), indicating pervasive habitat fragmentation that is likely to leave the species vulnerable to disturbance and hunting; the latter is observed even in protected areas (J. Eaton in litt. 2022). Even in areas not specifically targeted by hunters, leg snares are commonly (and illegally) used by labourers of the logging industry (G. Davison in litt. 2022).
This species is highly forest dependent and occurs in only tall primary dipterocarp forest and occasionally mature secondary forest, but never in plantations, hence the loss of area of suitable habitat is suspect to be directly related to the rate of population reduction. Thus over the past three generations, the population is suspected to have declined by 40-60%. The rate of decline may be expected to increase in the future: average annual rates of forest loss have increased such that projecting the average annual rate for the past five years (2016-2020) results in 56-64% forest cover loss over the next three generations while future local extinctions in smaller habitat patches may be expected if populations prove unviable or easily impacted by hunting. The rate of decline over the next three generations is therefore suspected to be 60-70%.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Malaysia N Extant Yes
Thailand N Presence Uncertain Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Malaysia Endau-Rompin
Malaysia Krau Wildlife Reserve
Malaysia Taman Negara National Park
Malaysia Tawau Hills Park
Thailand Hat Chao Mai
Malaysia Selangor Heritage Park
Malaysia Belum-Temenggor
Malaysia Ulu Muda

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland major resident
Altitude 0 - 300 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Very Rapid Declines High Impact: 8
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching - Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Very Rapid Declines High Impact: 8
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Species mortality

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - Non-trivial Recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Polyplectron malacense. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/09/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/09/2022.