The peacock is one of the most well-known birds in existence. Its feathers, bright colors and long tail make it a sight to be seen. So what do you think? Can peacocks fly? This article will explore this interesting myth and give you the answer!
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.
But first, let’s understand why some people think that peacocks can’t fly.
The answer to this question mainly has to do with the peacock’s impressive feathers and large size. It is not uncommon for some people to think that such a bird could not take flight as they are usually seen on the ground.
Also, peacocks look similar to some flightless birds such as ostrich and emu with their large size and heavy-looking bodies.
Peacocks can fly but not for long distances. They have been recorded as only spending 2% of their time flying short distances between feeding sites and up into trees to roost at night.
Due to the fact they are large birds with long tail feathers, of up to 6 feet, they more often jump high and then with a frantic burst of wing beats reach a higher perch before gliding longer distances back down.
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.
Peacocks leap off the ground with a burst of fast wing-flapping and fly short distances almost vertically into trees or onto roofs. They can fly when required and not just up out of the way.
Even with their wings clipped, Peacocks can jump 8 feet off the ground.
A flying peacock is very graceful when they glide back down to the ground, with the Peacocks long tail feathers extended out behind them.
You can watch the video to see the amount of effort it takes for the peacock to fly onto the roof.
Can Female Peacocks Fly?
The name for both male and female peacocks is peafowl. Female peacocks are called peahens and only the male is usually called a peacock.
Female peacocks can also fly up to roost at night out of the way of predators and to find food but as they spend most of their time foraging for food on the ground they do not fly far.
Peahens do not have long tail feathers like the male peacock and they are about half the size but like peacocks, they still do not fly far.
A group of peafowl is called a muster.
Peafowl usually live in groups of a male and 3 – 5 females in the breeding season and outside of this groups are often only made up of peahens and chicks, known as peachicks.
Can Peacocks Fly Far?
Peafowl is the name for both peacocks and peahens and they are part of the Phasianidae family of birds which are heavy, ground-living birds and also include chickens, turkeys, junglefowl, pheasants, partridges and quail.
Due to their heavy form, this family of birds is not known for flying far but often has powerful legs for running.
Not much research is available on how far peacocks can fly but peacock keepers report that their birds are capable of flying for a mile or so.
Peacocks will find a high place to perch from and will usually use this as a platform to launch for a long gracefully glide a long distance with a few wingbeats to maintain the flight.
Why Peacocks Fly?
Peacocks need to fly to keep out of the way of predators, especially to roost in trees at night, and to find places to forage for food.
Natural predators for peacocks include leopards and tigers, as well as mongoose or stray dogs in their native countries of India, Sri Lanka, Burma and Java. Roosting at night high up in trees keeps them out of sight of predators and the disturbance of the tree and branches should a predator attempt to climb the tree would give them time to fly to another tree.
During the day peacocks will spend most of the day on the ground foraging for food but they will fly short distances in their search for insects and other tasty treats.
Peacocks are not fussy eaters and their diet consists of insects, seeds, reptiles and amphibians. Their delicate but powerful feet are perfect for scratching through fallen leaves and even killing snakes such as cobra.
The insects that peacocks hunt, such as ants, termites, crickets and millipedes, are ground-dwelling and so peacocks do not need to catch them while flying.
All the food they need is located on the ground so peacocks have no need for flying for food and use their time scratching around during the cooler parts of the day.
Do Peacocks Migrate?
Peacocks’ natural habitat is woodland and forests in Asia and they do not migrate as their diet consists of insects and seeds and this is available all year.
Most birds in the same family as peacocks do not migrate, especially as they are a family of heavy and large birds that would make long flights more difficult.
Peacocks can travel several miles in a day searching for food but most of this is done by walking.
Although peacocks do not migrate this has not stopped them from being taken to many countries around the world, where they have now become feral in those countries and roam freely.
How to Stop a Peacock Flying Away
Peacocks kept in captivity and as pets will still roam several miles searching for food during the day and they may roost in trees away from home at night.
To stop peacocks from flying away their wings can be clipped but they can still jump up to 8 feet off the ground so a suitable fence would need to be installed to prevent them from jumping over and roaming for miles. They would also still need places to roost up off the ground at night.
Peacocks if kept for several weeks in an enclosure before being allowed to roam will know where ‘home’ is and will return if they fed daily. However, that might be after they have visited several neighboring properties and your neighbors may not take too kindly to the mess and noise these birds can make!