Congo peafowl (Afropavo congensis) is endemic to the lowland rainforest of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The unique thing about Congo peafowl is that it is the only genuine pheasant species in Africa. All other pheasant species (including the common peacock) are originally native to Asia. Despite its large distribution area, the Congo peafowl is a rare species. From the few surveys that have been conducted, it appears that the Congo peafowl is found in only a small number of isolated locations within its distribution area. The biggest threat to the Congo peafowl is the disturbance of the primary rainforest, caused by increasing numbers of cattle farmers and settlers looking for somewhere to live. In 1971, the growing concern for the survival of this very rare species was one of the reasons that Antwerp ZOO decided to set up a breeding programme for Congo peafowl.
Our researcher Peter Galbusera and assistant curator Steven Vansteenkiste coordinate this programme on behalf of Antwerp ZOO. Sadly, breeding success with Congo peafowl has been very low and in some years the population even declined. We hope to be able to reduce this decline by introducing as many available hens as possible to a breeding location.