The Myanmar Bird and Nature Society (MBNS) has suggested that the green peafowl be adopted as the national bird of Burma.
Speaking at a seminar on biodiversity and conservation at Rangoon Zoo on Saturday, a representative of the not-for-profit organisation announced the plan to propose the green peacock, otherwise known as the Java peafowl or Pavo muticus, as the national bird.
“Every country has their national dish, flora and animal,” said Thein Aung, vice-president of the MBNS. “As Burma is home to the most diverse range of bird species among the ASEAN members, we believe we should have a national bird too. The green peafowl should be our choice.”
Ornithologists have warned that the green peafowl faces the possibility of extinction within 20 years if proper conservation methods are not employed.
Thiri Dewi Aung, research manager at Burma’s Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association, said: “There is about a 10 percent chance that the green peafowl may go extinct within the next 20 years.
“During the era of Burma’s monarchy, the green peacock was the national symbol of Burma and appeared on coins and banknotes,” she added.
The MBNS lists 1,113 species of bird in Burma, noting that 347 species migrate to the country every winter. Some 51 species are officially endangered.
Among the most common species are: waterfowl, wading birds, a large suite of song birds, raptors, game birds, swifts and nighthawks.
Thein Aung from the Myanmar Bird and Nature Society said that the white-throated babbler, Lerdon’s minivet, the Burmese bushlark and the hooded treepie are being threatened by an increase of tourists flocking to see the ancient temples in Bagan’s archaeological zone.