Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Grey Peacock-pheasant (Polyplectron bicalcaratum)


French: Éperonnier chinquis German: Indochina-Pfaufasan Spanish: Espolonero chinquis

Pavo bicalcaratus


, 1758,

China; error = Thoungyah, Myanmar


Sometimes considered to be closely related to P. germaini, but this is not supported by molecular data; there is some evidence, however, to suggest that present species forms a clade with P. germaini, P. katsumatae, P. inopinatum and P. chalcurum (and presumably) to the exclusion of the remaining members of the genus#R. Genetic data indicate that present species is most closely related to P. chalcurum and that these two species evolved most recently within the genus#R. The form katsumatae was recently proposed for species status, and is treated thus here; male katsumatae differ from males of other taxa in P. bicalcaratum in their smaller size (effect size on wing 8.57, score 3); brilliant red and more extensive vs dirty grey to pale yellow and less extensive facial skin (3); green vs purplish ocelli, with a somewhat different shape (2); lack of elongate crown feathers (1); darker crown (1); more densely and neatly vermiculated body plumage (ns[1]); browner vs greyer overall coloration (ns[1]). Internal taxonomy probably requires revision; races intergrade, with intermediate forms fairly common, and individual variation is not uncommon throughout the range; bakeri and ghigii perhaps better synonymized with nominate#R. Poorly known form bailyi sometimes recognized, but its geographical range is not known (W Assam or E Himalayas suggested) and location of specimens is uncertain#R. Three subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. b. bakeri Lowe, 1925 – hills of NE India E from Sikkim and C & E Bhutan (W to Sunkosh Valley), E to Manipur, and maybe on into Myanmar.
  • P. b. bicalcaratum (Linnaeus, 1758) – E Bangladesh, and W & S Myanmar E through CS China (W Yunnan, S Guangxi) to NW Vietnam and SE to SW Thailand (N of Isthmus of Kra). Formerly occurred in N Peninsular Malaysia, where known from single specimen#R.
  • P. b. ghigii Delacour & Jabouille, 1924 – N & C Vietnam and C Laos.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 56–76 cm (bicalcaratum, bakeri); tail 35–40 cm (bakeri); 568–910 g (bakeri). Female 48–55 cm (... read more


    Male of nominate bicalcaratum gives a shrill whistle, repeated up to five times at... read more


    Inhabits dense evergreen and semi-evergreen forest, including areas with much bamboo in understorey... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet apparently consists of berries, fruits (plums and Zizyphus identified), seeds, wild figs (Ficus), grubs, ants, other... read more


    In NE India, Mar–Jun, mainly Apr–May; in Bangladesh, Apr–May. Mating system unclear; suspected to be monogamous, but... read more


    No information available.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Very little firm information available from NE India and Bhutan, but recorded from at least three areas in the latter country, while... read more

    Recommended citation

    McGowan, P.J.K., Kirwan, G.M. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Grey Peacock-pheasant (Polyplectron bicalcaratum). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 9 December 2019).