Lancaster County 4-H Lancaster County 4-H 4-H Embryology
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email: lancaster@unl.edu
Baby peafowl are called "Peachicks"
Male Peacock

 

The peafowl (what we sometimes call a "peacock") is a beautful bird found on farmsteads, private estates or public parks and zoological gardens. The most common peafowl in this country is the Blue (or Indian) Peafowl. It has been raised in captivity for over 2,000 years. They have been reported in reported in ancient Egyptian, Roman and Greek history. Peafowl are native to southern India and Ceylon. In its native homeland, India, peafowl can still be found wild in the jungles where it is both popular and useful (especially when it eats young cobras). The peafowl is India's National Bird.

In the wild, peafowl live in parties, usually in dry open forest. They go to roost (sleep) early by flying up into tall trees, calling and bugling loudly as they move upward. Peafowl are very noisy at night (if you live near a zoo or a farmstead that has peafowl you know this to be true!)

Peafowl are relatives of pheasants. The main difference between peafowl and pheasants is in the plumage. Peafowl do not have their full plumage (adult feathers and colors) until they are 3 years old. This includes the stunning train (the long tail). At the end of each summer, the peafowl molts its train (the feathers drop off) and it isn't fully replaced with new feathers until early spring. The males have the most spectacular colors. The female is beautiful too - but a bit more plain. Peafowl come in a wide variety of colors including blue, green. white. light brown. and purple. The India blue and the green peafowl are the two most common colors of peafowl found in the wild.

The male peafowl is called a "peacock", the female is called a "peahen". Babies under one year of age are called "peachicks".

Male Peacock Displaying for PeahenThe male peacock puts on a stunning display with his train to attract the hens (photo right). Research has shown that peahens choose their mates based on the quality of their plumage - the size and distribution of "eyespots." (Source: The Washington Post. M. Petrie of Oxford University's Department of Zoology)

Most peahens do not lay eggs during their first year. During the second and third years they will lay a few eggs. By the fourth year they may lay five to nine eggs each year. If you remove the eggs from the nest as they are laid, the mature (four years or older) peahen may lay a second and even a third clutch of eggs. This could result in more eggs than one peahen can incubate. A peahen can incubate up to 10 eggs. Extra eggs are sometimes hatched in an incubator or use a fooster mother (like a turkey hen). Peahens and turkeys are very good mothers.

Peahen eggs take 28-30 days to hatch. The peachicks are able to follow their mother nearly as soon as they hatch. The peahen leads them to feeding areas where the chicks imitate their mother by pecking at food on the ground.

Sources (below):

Peafowl - University of Nebraska

The Honolulu Zoo

United Peafowl Association - PEAFOWL

Adult Peacock Photo Credit (Top Right and Display Photo Above): Amy's Peacock Paradise

Peachick Photo Credit: V. Jedlicka, University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

EGG Cam Resources: - Resources on incubating and raising chickens, ducks and more.

EGG Cam Photos & Movie Clips

Go Back to Learn More Go back to Choose another Bird and Learn More

 


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