Indian Peafowl

Pavo cristatus

Mr. Whistles and the rest of the peafowl are always showing off their impressively extravagant plumages!

Species Information

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This large bird is native to India and Sri Lanka; however, they can be found in other near countries in South Asia and have been introduced worldwide. They prefer to live in forests or grasslands.

Although peahens (female) are duller and browner in colour, the peacock (male) has brightly coloured blue and green plumage including over 200 feathers, each decorated with eyespots, making up their ‘train’.

They will typically feed on grain, grass and seeds, but also insects, worms, lizards, frogs, and snakes!

Up to 25 years!

They are usually solitary birds and are very weary of predators; always scanning the area for potential threats. This is because they can not fly very far to evade predators due to their heavy body and large trains. However, although their train may seem conspicuous to predators, it in fact acts as good camouflage in dense, forested areas so they can usually avoid predators on foot. But if they choose to fight instead of flight, they use their large train to intimidate aggressors and attack them with their spurs.

The males display their iridescently fanned trains as part of their courtship behaviour to the peahens. During this courtship they will also shiver these feathers which makes a sound so low-pitched that we cannot hear it but a peahen can from far distances. If this doesn’t attract a peahen’s attention, then their loud calls (called crows) surely will. A female is more impressed with a male who has longer, more extravagant feathers with more eyespots because this signals good health and fitness as they are able to survive and evade predation despite having ‘impracticable’ traits. After mating and laying the 4-12 eggs, the peahen will incubate the eggs for about 28 days before they hatch.

Least Concern

If you thought a peacock’s feathers weren’t already impressive, then did you know that a peacock’s feathers are also covered in tiny crystals which play a large part in attracting the females?!