Peacocks have captured the imagination of humans for hundreds of years and it’s easy to see why with their dazzling display of feathers. These showy birds spend most of their time scratching around on the ground but if you are lucky enough to see them gracefully flying it is amazing.
Peacocks live in woodland and forest in the wild, but they adapt well to different environments and captivity. They live in the wild in India, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, and also the Congo Basin.
As peacocks are such magnificent birds they have been brought to many countries around the world and now can be found on most continents.
You don’t often see Peacocks flying as they usually spend most of the day on the ground foraging for insects before flying up into the trees, out of danger, or up to roost for the night.
They have to be able to fly out of danger to get away from predators such as tigers.
Peacocks are not fussy eaters and they eat most things they can find on the ground such as insects, worms, small snakes and reptiles, small mammals, grain, seed, and berries.
They look for food by scratching around on the ground in the leaf litter and their sharp claws and beaks can even kill snakes including a cobra.
Peacocks are typically blue and green and the tail feathers of the male can be 60% of the bird’s total body length. The feathers have colorful ‘eye’ markings of gold, red and blue.
The tail of the peacock is known as the ‘train’. Every year the Peacock molts and the feathers are released and grown again.
The bright iridescent colors of the Peacocks’ feathers are not due to pigments but are actually due to structural changes that scatter light and produce amazing colors. According to a scientific study, peacocks will orient themselves towards the sun for the ‘train-rattling’ display to enhance the appearance of the feathers.
There are three species of peacocks (peafowl) which all have different dominant coloring:
- Indian Peafowl is more blue in coloring.
- Green Peafowl from Southeast Asia, which is more green in coloring
- Congo peafowl which is more black and brown for the male and green and brown females
According to Wikipedia, there are several hundred variations in color and pattern recognized as separate morphs of the Indian Blue Peafowl among breeders. Pattern variations include solid wing color, pied which is where the color is not complete across the bird (such as in the photo above), and white-eyed where the ‘eye’ feathers are white instead of black.
Color variations can include white, purple, opal, cameo, peach, bronze, charcoal, jade, taupe, and midnight. I have written more about the stunning White peacocks.
Peacocks are LOUD and their call is called a scream for good reason as they can be heard from a mile away. This call is usually to attract peahens or if they hear another peacock calling so to announce they are here too.
Peacocks have about 11 different calls but the most iconic is the scream.
Difference Between Male and Female Peacocks
Peafowl is the correct name for both the male and female peacocks but they often both get referred to as peacocks. Female peafowl are called Peahens.
Peahens do not have elaborate tail feathers and are not as colorful as the male peacock.
Male peacocks’ bodies are 35 – 50 inch (100 – 115 cm) and with the train between 77 – 89 in (195 – 225 cm)
The female peacocks’ length is 37 in (95cm)
Male peacocks weigh 8.8 – 13.2 lb (4 – 6 kg)
Female peacocks weighs 6.1 – 8.8 lb (2.75 – 4 kg)
Many hypotheses exist as to why peacocks have such large trains and one is to do with selection due to female choice but this is still an ongoing debate. The number of eyespots on a male train has been shown to influence mating success. Chicks fathered by more ornamented males weigh more and generally have a better survival rate.
I hope you have enjoyed learning more about stunning peacocks and you can check out these other great peacock articles.