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Blue Peafowl Fact File

Pavo cristatus

Credit: Copyright. The Animal Facts.

Weight

3-6kg

(6.6-13.2lbs)

Length

95-225cm

(37-89in)

Lifespan

Wild 20 years

Captive 20 years

Diet

Omnivorous

Insects, Fruit, Seeds

Conservation Status

IUCN

Least Concern

The blue peafowl is also known as the Indian peafowl or common peafowl. These animals are native to Asia but have spread to a number of countries due to their popularity as an ornamental bird in gardens.

They are omnivores which will feed on a range of insects, fruit, seeds, small animals and vegetables. Foraging takes place on the ground during the day before they seek shelter in the trees at night.

Males use the spectacular tail which trails behind their body to impress a female during the mating season. Groups of males gather together at the same site which is known as a lek to compete for females.

Their population is stable and has been able to expand through their popularity as an ornamental bird which has seen feral populations of the species expand globally.

Read on to learn more about the beautiful birds.

Appearance

What does the blue peafowl look like?

Blue Peafowl are medium sized birds with spectacular tail feathers. They display marked sexual dimorphism with males and females having few visual similarities.

From the head to the end of the tail a male measures an average of 195-225cm (77-89in) long compared to 95cm (37in) long for females. A male will weigh between 4 and 6kg (8.8-13.2lbs) with the female coming in between 3 and 4kg (6.6 and 8.8lbs).

The female blue peafowl (known as the peahen) is colored brown. At the base of the neck they have some metallic green feathers and the underside is white. The crown of feathers on their head is brown or green.

Their dull coloration is an adaptation which assists with camouflage when they are sitting on eggs.

The male peafowl (known as the peacock) has a blue neck and head. The sides of the head feature green patches. Above and below the eye is a white stripe which is just bare skin. On the back the feathers are green with black and copper markings. The actual tail is dark brown.

The train at the end of the males body is formed from elongated tail coverts. These are colored green and end with an eye spot. The majority of the underside is green but it becomes black at the end of the tail. This is raised to impress the female during breeding.

This train can account for over half of their body length and reaches a length of up to 1.6m (5.28ft).

On top of the males head is a small crown of thin feathers with a ball like appendage on top.

At the back of the males feet are spurs.

Pied and white versions of the peafowl can be found in the wild as well as in zoos where they are bred for these traits .

Diet

What does the blue peafowl eat?


The peafowl is an omnivore. They feed on the ground eating insects, fruits, seeds, small mammals and vegetables.

In the Gir forest the majority of their diet is made up of berries from the Zizyphus. In cultivated areas they will feed on the crops. Farmers tolerate them due to the many insects which they eat.

Much of their foraging is undertaken on the ground.

Blue Peafowl

Credit: Public Domain

Range

Where can you find the blue peafowl?

Asia is the native home of the blue peafowl. Here they can be found in Bangladesh; Bhutan; India; Nepal; Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The species has been introduced to a number of countries which include Australia; the Bahamas; New Zealand and the island of Hawaii, United States. Introduced populations in Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha have since gone extinct.

Habitat

What kind of environment does the blue peafowl live in?

These animals are found in forest and shrubland.

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Reproduction

How does the blue peafowl produce its young?

The breeding season for the blue peafowl is dependent on when the rains come.

A group of males who are generally closely related will form a lek site where they each maintain a small territory. Females then visit the males at these sites. The males do not generally attempt to guard the females. Males produce a loud call to advertise their presence.

The males display for the females by lifting their tail feathers up and shaking them.

Males have no involvement in caring for their young. They can mate with multiple partners during the same breeding season.

Once they have mated the female creates a nest. This is a shallow scrape in the ground. They line this with leaves, sticks and other material. Occasionally the nest is built on a building or they may occupy a disused white-rumped vulture nest.

In the nest 4-8 eggs are laid and after 28 days of incubation the chicks hatch. At birth they are covered with downy yellowish feathers with some brown stripes. By 2 months they have taken on the adult plumage.

The chicks follow the mother around and she looks after them. Sometimes she will carry them around on her back. The chicks generally go out on their own at 1 year old.

Sexual maturity is reached between 2 and 3 years old.

Behavior

What does the blue peafowl do with its day?

In their natural range a male blue peafowl will molt the tail feathers during August. These then develop again in February.

When foraging peafowl form small groups usually made up of a peacock and 3-5 peahens. Once the breeding season is complete the males generally leave the group while the young are being raised.

To keep clean they will take dust baths.

These birds produce a loud call which is primarily used to alert others to a threat.

These animals are active during the day when they mostly roam on the ground and seek out food. At night they will roost in a tree which affords a level of safety from predators.

Blue Peafowl

Credit: Copyright. The Animal Facts.

Predators and Threats

What is impacting the survival of the blue peafowl?

Natural predators of the blue peafowl include dholes, leopards and tigers. Some larger birds will hunt them. They will ambush the peafowl before they can fly away.

Peafowl will attempt to fly away if they see a predators approaching them. Chicks are more prone to predation than adults.

The population of the blue peafowl is considered to be stable and they are thought be common in their environment.

Blue peafowl are kept domestically in a number of areas which has allowed them to spread to areas in which they did not naturally occur. They are used for food and kept as pets.

Quick facts

The peacock has been kept by humans for thousands of years. In the past they were a sign of wealth. At present they are valued for their ornamental appearance but in the past their loud call lead to them being used as watchmen.

The peacock is the national bird of India.

In Greek mythology the eyes on the tail of the Indian peafowl were said to be placed there as a commemoration of the watchman Argus who was said to have 100 eyes.

This species may also be known as the common peafowl or Indian peafowl.

A group of peacocks is referred to as an ostentation or a pride.

Blue Peafowl

Credit: Public Domain

References

Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK

Alderton, D. and Barrett, P., 2019. The complete illustrated encyclopedia of birds of the world. Lorenz Books.

Christiansen, P., 2019. Birds. London: Amber Books Ltd.

Morcombe, M., 2003. Field Guide To Australian Birds. Archerfield, Qld.: Steve Parish Pub.

BirdLife International. 2016. Pavo cristatusThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22679435A92814454. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22679435A92814454.en. Downloaded on 03 October 2021.

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