Indian Peafowl | Habitat, Origin, Characteristics & Complete Species Guide

One of the most eccentric bird species, the Indian Peafowl is popular around the world for the magnificent view they provide.

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Intro Video - Backtobirds

The birds are known for their beauty but their other features and characteristics are not so known by many. 

To help you know these amazing pheasants below is a compilation of all the information about the Indian peafowl.

What is an Indian Peafowl? How to identify?

Also known as common peafowl, the Indian peafowl (Pavo cristatus)is one of the species of the peafowl family. It is native to parts of the Indian subcontinent.

These fancy birds are popular around the world for their exquisite appearance and courtship displays. 

Indian peafowl exhibits sexual dimorphism i.e. both the sexes of this species show different characteristics including size, color, weight, and behavioral traits.

Due to this, it becomes very easy to differentiate the peacock and peahen belonging to this peafowl species.

The breed is best identified by its unique, brightly colored plumage.

The distinguishing factor between the sexes of this species is that peacocks have beautiful, enormously elevated feathers that cover their tails whereas the peahens lack them. 

Indian peafowl habitat | Where do Indian peafowl live?

The Indian peafowl is most commonly found in moist and dry deciduous forests, but can also inhabit cultivated regions and even human habitations. They prefer the areas that have sufficient water sources. 

The birds will habitat an area if it is a small territory with a suitable roost tree, least danger, and sufficient food.

In their native range, the Indian peafowl is generally found in areas that are 900 to 1200 meters above sea level with suitable forest habitats. 

The habitat geographical regions of the birds are temperate, tropical, and terrestrial.

In terms of terrestrial biomes, they are found in rainforests, savanna or grasslands, and even mountains. The other habitat features of the birds are rural, urban, and suburban areas. 

The peafowls are resident breeders across Sri Lanka and India, but their geographical distribution is worldwide.

The birds have been introduced to many countries around the world including the United States, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, and many others. 

What does an Indian peafowl look like? 

The Indian peafowl is one of the larger-sized bird species, identified by several features and exotic appearance.

Some of the characteristics of the physical description of Indian peafowl are:

  • Peacocks, the largest flying birds, are around 100-115 cm in length and if the length of a fully grown train is included, the length gets extended to 195-225 cm. 
  • The weight of the peacocks varies between 4 to 6 kg.
  •  Peahens do not have a long train like males, so their length remains around 95 cm. They are not as heavier as males, weighing just 3 to 4 kg. 
  • The male has a metallic blue head having short and curled feathers, a fan-shaped crest made of black shafts and green-blue ends, and a little hue of white under the eyes. 
  • The sides of the peacock’s head have a mix of green and blue feathers whereas the back has mixed colors of black, copper, and green.
  • The tail of a peacock is usually dark brown with a few feathers. On the other hand, the train is made up of long, ornamental feathers (elongated upper tail coverts) having an iridescent mixture of colors like green, blue, black, and gold, with rounded, black eye-spots at the end. 
  • The legs of the peacocks are long, strong, and grayish-brown.
  • The peahens have a crest just like males but their tips differ in color from males as they are chestnut-green. They have brownish heads and upper bodies with pale mottling.
  • The color of the female’s tail, primaries, and secondaries is dark brown. The lower neck has metallic green hues. The underparts are whitish. 
  • The chicks of Indian peafowl are pale buff with darker markings on the back and the wings. After half a year from birth, the males start to grow blue neck feathers and rusty coverts whereas females start showing greenish hues in the back.

Indian peafowl lifespan | How long do Indian Peafowls live?

Indian peafowl has a lifespan of around 25 years in the wild. But due to various life-threatening factors like diseases, predation, poisoning, destruction of their natural habitats, and accidents, the average lifespan is around 15 to 20 years. 

In captivity, the birds live up to 16-17 years on average but the maximum number of years they can live is up to 23 years. 

The difference in the lifespans of wild and captive birds is due to their diets and different lifestyles. In the wild, the peafowl has to always be in search of food and eat whatever they find. Also, a threat to their life always exists.

Related Read: What Not To Feed Wild Birds? ( Harmful Foods For Wild Birds )

On the other hand, the peafowls in captivity do not need to search for food, they are provided with the feed.

Due to lack of physical activities, they do not burn off excessive fats, protein, and calcium, which results in diseases like gout and kidney failures in the birds. 

Indian Peafowl food and diet | What do Indian Peafowl eat?

Indian Peafowl is omnivore birds and eats a varied range of food including seeds, fruits, insects, reptiles, and small mammals. They also feed on small snakes but not large ones. Their favorite food choice is termites.  

Related Read: Do Birds Eat Safflower And Sunflower Seeds? | Safflower Vs Sunflower Seeds For Birds

The birds living in the cultivated years generally feed on various crops such as fallen berries, tomatoes, paddy, groundnut, chili, bananas, and grapes.   

The ones living around human habitations feed on food scraps and even animal excreta. They also eat tree and flower buds, grass, petals, and bamboo shoots, especially those living in the countryside where fewer food sources are present. 

Related Read: Do Birds Eat Ants? Are Ants Good For Birds?

Indian Peafowl – Characteristics & Behavior

Below are some of the characteristics and behavioral traits of Indian peafowl.

  • Unlike most birds, these birds are not migratory animals, but sedentary birds, living in small groups or rather isolated and solitary lifestyles. 
  • During the breeding season, both sexes show different behavior. The peacocks defend their territories whereas the peahens seek the males out as mates. 
  • A male generally has a harem of 4 to 5 females during the breeding season, but outside it, both the sexes generally live alone or in a group of two to three birds with similar sex.
  • The Indian peafowl is extremely cautious and expert at spotting any potential danger. Their heads are constantly moving, searching for any predators around them. The birds fall in the category of highly alert animals.
  • These birds are quite comfortable around humans and do not get affected by their presence. Thus, this species is much easier to raise. 
  • The peafowl is diurnal, sleeping high up on trees for seeking protection. The birds do not fly directly to the high branches at the top, but rather to the branches at lower sides. Then, they hop from branch to branch to reach the top or to the height where they feel safe.
  • The birds require lots of water for drinking, but they avoid water bathing as it weighs down their plumage. If they get wet, they find a safe, sunny spot to dry them. The birds are more into dust bathing which they do for getting rid of bugs or parasites.
  • Indian peafowl spend quite a lot of time preening their beautiful feathers, especially the peacocks as their mating success depends a lot on their displays.
  • The males use their trains during courtship. They spread their feathers of the train like a fan and shiver them to attract the peahens. 
  • The peacock also produces loud calls after the display and later on, if the peahen gets impressed, she joins him and replies with the calls as well.

Related Read: Do Birds Get Tired Of Flying | How Long Can Birds Fly Without Stopping?

Related Read: Are Peacocks Aggressive And Dangerous? Will They Bite And Hurt You?

Are Indian Peafowls good pets? Are they friendly or aggressive?

Indian peafowls can be kept as pets, but whether the birds make good pets or not, totally depends on what you want in your pet. 

If you are someone who is looking for a pet that is easy to care for and can be added as a beautiful addition to your garden, then Indian peafowl is ideal for you.

But if you expect your pets to be affectionate, interactive, and companionable, peafowls are not the idle ones for you.

On the positive side, the Indian peafowl is comfortable around humans and can easily be tamed.

Also, the birds are not picky eaters. Whereas on the downside, the birds do not exchange affection, rather they live more as a resident than a pet in a home. 

Indian peafowls do not show aggression to humans without any reason. They are calm and remain unaffected by human company.

However, it’s better to not approach an unfamiliar peafowl as this might trigger the bird to attack.

Related Read: How To Cope With The Loss Of My Pet Bird?

How do you raise and take care of an Indian Peafowl?

To raise and take care of an Indian Peafowl, it is necessary to fulfill their basic requirements appropriately. These include:  

 1. Housing

  • While raising chicks, it is necessary to keep them in a warm place for 4-5 weeks of their birth. The idle temperature for them during this period is around 95 degrees Fahrenheit. 

However, it can vary according to the season and geographical location.

  • The birds need a large space so make sure that their pen is big enough for them to move around and display their feathers without actually hurting them.
  • Peafowls are not too happy around a crowd. So, make sure that you do not overcrowd their pen with too many birds. 

2. Feeding

  • To feed the peafowl, keep it in hanging dishes to avoid the food from getting infected by rats and others. Also, the birds drink a lot, so make sure to keep at least 3 to 4 gallons of water for them at a safe and elevated place.
  • If raising chicks, then make sure that they have a high protein intake for the starting few months of their life. As the chicks get older, cut down their high protein diet as it may harm them.
  • You may offer occasional treats to the birds but in a limited way. The treat can be a few fruits, bread, cereals, etc. 

3. Health

  • Health checks of peafowl at regular intervals are great to assess their health and prevent them from common illnesses.
  • You should be alert enough to notice external parasites such as lice, mites, or chiggers. If you find your birds already affected by these parasites, take immediate actions to treat the birds.
  • De-worm your chickens after regular periods. You can use wormers such as Piperazine, Ivermectin Cattle wormer, and IVOMEC. 

How many eggs do Indian Peafowls lay?

The peahens generally lay 3 to 5 eggs, but the number can even extend up to 12. The eggs are of brownish, buff color. 

The females produce a single brood each year. All the eggs of a single brood are laid one at a time each day. Their incubation period is approximately 26 to 28 days. 

Can Indian Peafowls fly?

Indian Peafowls are the largest flying birds. These birds fly up to short distances and heights. 

They use their flying ability to reach their roosting spots which are generally high from the ground level. Also, they use it during a time of danger or predator attack.

However, the birds will not sustain themselves in the air for long due to their weight.

Conclusion

The Indian peafowl is a beautiful bird species with marvelous hues. They inhabit both the urban and rural regions.

The birds are even captivated by a wide range. With various unique features, physical traits, and behavioral characteristics, Indian Peafowl are among the most exotic creatures.