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