Indian Peafowl

Pavo cristatus

Click to view a larger image. Click to view a larger image. bird bird

Museum specimen featured in the Wild exhibition
Source: Museum Victoria

Indian Peafowl
Image: Chase Swift
Source: Corbis

Type: bird

Indian Peafowl Indian Peafowl
Image: Chase Swift
Source: Corbis

Conservation Status

Secure Vulnerable Endangered Extinct  ]

While Indian Peafowls are extinct from their former range in Bangladesh, they are common in India and Sri Lanka. There is a large global population of domestic Indian Peafowls far beyond their natural range. There are few conservation concerns for these birds, and they adapt well to environments altered by human activity.



Indian Peafowls are omnivores.

They eat seeds, insects, fruits and small animals.


Indian Peafowl relative size depiction as described below

Size relative to a cat and a woman.

2.74–6 kg
1–2.3 m
1.4–1.6 m

Amazing Indian Peafowls

These large and magnificent birds are famous throughout the world. Indian Peafowls have been popular domestic animals and status symbols for over 3000 years. Their beautiful colours are created by light refracting in the microscopic structure of the feather surface.

Male Indian Peafowls (peacocks) are a brilliant iridescent blue with a train of 100–150 greenish feathers in their ‘tails’. The feathers actually grow from the back of the peacock rather than the tail. Each feather is 1.5 metres long and ends in an eye-spot. When courting females (peahens), peacocks raise and fan out the feathers in a shimmering, impressive display. In contrast, peahens are drab, brownish birds, but both sexes have a head crest.

Indian Peafowls forage for food early and late in the day. In the hottest part of they day they shelter in shady forests. At night they roost in very high trees. They are among the largest birds that can fly, but cannot fly very well.

In the breeding season, peacocks congregate in territories known as leks. They perform for visiting females who select a mate by their display. Peahens lay 3–6 eggs in a nest on the ground and rear their chicks alone. The young are fully feathered upon hatching and quickly learn to forage for themselves by watching their mother.

Did You Know?

Indian Peafowls

  • are among the largest birds that can fly
  • grow their splendid tails from feathers on their backs
  • appear brilliantly coloured due to light refraction


Indian Peafowl distribution map

Wild Indian Peafowls are found in India and Sri Lanka, but domesticated birds are found across the globe. They live in open forests, often near streams, and in plantations.


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