There are three species of peafowl in the world and among them, the Indian peafowl is the most common. You’ve likely seen peafowl in our local zoo but there’s a lot to understand about these majestic birds.
Indian peafowl: Indian peafowls are the most common species and the most iconic. Male peacocks have incredibly large tails with gorgeous blue and green coloring while female peahens have much smaller tails and a more subdued brown coloring. The Indian peafowl is native to Southeast Asia but has been exported to zoos and farms around the world. There are now many Indian peafowl breeders around North America. While these birds are incredibly fun to look at, they are very loud, so you may want to think twice about keeping one on your farm. However, if you do, they are quite docile and their omnivorous diet makes them easy to feed.
What is an Indian Peacock?
First, a bit of terminology, Indian peafowl is the name of the species while Indian peacocks are the male birds and Indian peahens are the female birds.
Male Indian peacocks have iridescent blue necks and large tails with gorgeous green and blue feathers. Indian peahens are a light brown color. Their tails are quite small and are not blue or green.
Indian Peacock Characteristics
Even before you see an Indian peacock with its tail feathers on full display, you know this is a magical bird. Then, when they fan out, it is quite a sight to behold.
On the other hand, female peahens do not have the same display and instead are a light brown color with almost no tail.
In addition to their famous coloring, peafowl is known for the noises they make. They make a vast array of sounds, including honking and screeching noises.
Indian peafowl has a lot of predators so they make noises to alert other birds of potential dangers. During the mating season, which lasts from early spring to late summer, they will also make a lot of noise.
If you measure the bodies of peacocks and peahens, they are relatively similar in size. However, when you take into account their tails, their size will greatly differentiate.
Peacocks have tails that reach up to 5 feet long. In comparison, peahens have tails that are only 4 to 6 inches long.
The Indian peafowl is omnivorous, which means they eat both meat and vegetable. It foragers and will consume almost anything they are exposed to.
For vegetation, this includes grass and berries. As for meat, peafowl love insects like worms and beetles. They will also eat larger animals, such as mice and snakes.
For this reason, peafowl needs a relatively large habitat so they can move around and find more food to eat. If you plan on keeping peafowl, be sure to give them an area where they can forage for their own food, in addition to you feeding them.
Those that want to keep peafowl should know you can actually feed kitchen scraps to them, which makes them an easy-to-look-after pet.
The Indian peafowl is protected by law in the country of India, and as a result, are a thriving species. This is in contrast to other species, such as Green peafowl and Congo peafowl, which are endangered.
It is hard to tell exactly how many peafowls there are, but their population around India is about 100,000. Also, Indian peafowl is housed in zoos around the world, which further boosts their overall population.
The average lifespan of Indian peafowl is 20 years. This is quite long for a bird and many farmers will keep peafowl as pets.
While peacocks weigh more than peahens, the average weight for these birds is between 9 and 13 pounds. This is quite surprising given all the plumage that peacocks have.
Clutch Size and Incubation
A peahen is able to lay an egg about once every one to two days for a total of 12 days. In this time it will produce a clutch of eggs that are 5 to 8 in number.
Once all the eggs are laid, the peahen will gather them in her nest and sit on them to incubate them. After about 28 days, the eggs will hatch, and these babies are called peachicks.
Peachicks stay with their mother for about 8 to 10 weeks. After this, they are fully independent although they don’t become sexually active until 3 years of age.
Indian peacocks are native to India and the surrounding area, including Sri Lanka and other areas of Southeast Asia. Since their discovery, however, you can find peacocks in many other areas of the world.
Peacocks, however, need warm climates to survive. If the temperature consistently reaches below freezing, they are not able to adapt.
Almost every zoo or animal sanctuary will have peacocks as they are quite amazing to behold. Interestingly, you can find small habitats of wild peacocks in North America. This is due to either peacock escaping their enclosures or people keeping them as exotic pets and then releasing them when they become too large or loud.
Around Canada and the United States, in warmer climates, you can find pockets of peacocks and peahens. In Mexico, especially, there is a large, feral, community.
As for specific habitats, Indian peafowl needs a mixture of soft grassy areas to forage in and protective trees to roost in.
Is the Indian Peacock the national bird of India?
Yes, the Indian peafowl is considered the national bird of India. It received its official status in 1963.
In both Hinduism and Buddhism, Indian peafowl is of special prominence. They are often referred to in myths and images and are sometimes as revered as other deities.
Their national symbolism has afforded the Indian peafowl immense protection. It is against the law to hunt peafowl and you can be heavily fined for it.
The Indian peafowl is amazing to look at. The male peacocks have immense plumage and even the more subdued female peahens have a gorgeous coat.