- Males discard their long train of feathers for half of the year, but regrow it for each breeding season.
- They have spurs used to fight members of the same gender.
- Some peafowl have black shoulders, and white/partly white peafowl have been found in captivity.
- Their feathers are actually brown but their tiny structure reflects light that makes them appear blue and green.
- They forage in small groups of 3-6.
Animals — Aves (birds) — Galliformes (chicken relatives) — Phasianidae (pheasant & chicken family)
Indian peafowl are a beautiful species of bird native to India, Sri Lanka and other Asian countries. They are popular ornamental birds and so have been introduced to many other locations. Males are mostly blue, with long, greenish tails that sport eye spots. Females are grey-brown with much shorter upper tail feathers. Males are famed for their ability to fan out their tail feathers and shake them to court females.
They are social, normally moving in small groups on the forest floor. They prefer to stay on the floor, even while being chased by predators, but will fly into trees at night to roost. Though not conclusively proved, it is thought that the males’ elaborate plumage was sexually selected for as an “honest signal” of their fitness. Only the fittest, healthiest males can grow long, shiny trails and survive long enough to breed. Therefore the males with the most impressive plumage are the healthiest, and most likely to breed.
The Indian peafowl is classified as “least concern” by the IUCN as it has a large range and high numbers in the wild.
Habitat: They need areas with clear ground, such as open forests. They will also live in clearings as long as there are trees that they can roost in at night.
–Average weight: 4kg
–Average length: 1.5m
In the wild up to: 18 years
In captivity up to: 23 years
Diet: They are omnivores and so eat plants and meat. They mostly eat seeds, fruits small mammals and reptiles.
Distribution: India and smaller areas of surrounding countries.