Where Do Peacocks Live?

Photo: Iain A Wanless / Flickr
Photo: Iain A Wanless / Flickr

Peacocks live in dense, forested areas where they roost in trees and gather together in flocks called “parties.” The two most recognizable peacocks are the blue peacock, which is endemic to Sri Lanka and the green peacock that lives in Myanmar and the Indonesian island of Java. Another species, The Congo peacock, lives in the African jungle.

Technically, the term “peacock” should be reserved only for the male birds and the term “peahen” for female birds. The term “peafowl” is the technically proper term to refer to both male and female of the bird species. Peafowls are best known for their “train,” which is the set of flamboyant tail feathers with elaborate iridescent coloration.

Peacocks and peahens are also found in Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Australia, New Zealand, Florida and the Bahamas. Various species of peacocks have been domesticated for centuries, and you’ll also find peacocks at different zoos and wild animal preserves throughout the United States and other continents. While peacocks are known for their rainbow-colored feathers that are highlighted with blue and green, selective breeding practices are sometimes utilized to produce peacocks with unique feather color combinations.

Peafowl living in the wild can be extremely temperamental and tend to stick with their own, as they don’t get along with many other bird species and can become combative when provoked. During off-mating seasons, peacocks and female peahens live among each other in small groups called parties. During the day, peahens work together to feed and gather food for their young, also referred to as peachicks. Peacocks and peahens roost together, typically in dense, forested areas that offer shade from warm climates. Wild peafowl prefer to live in forests with easy access to rivers and streams, which makes it easier to find water and stay cool during warm weather. Peafowl can also be found living near fruit crops, as they feed on fruit, berries, seeds, figs, and flowers. Peafowl prefer tropical climates, and their ideal habitat tends to be humid rainforests with all-season water sources.

During mating season, peafowl split up into smaller groups that consist of several peahens and one male peacock. Mating season occurs in the spring, and male peacocks can often be seen fluffing up their feathers and posturing for the peahens. When a peacock ruffles his feathers, peahens are drawn into a vibrating sound that occurs during the process. This sound is inaudible to humans and other animals, but when a peahen hears the vibration, she decides on whether or not to choose the peacock as her partner. When mating season is over, peahens become completely independent in order to prepare for the arrival of their babies. Peacocks become completely independent as well, and they stop interacting with the peahens. Peacocks do not take any responsibility when it comes to raising their young, this is completely up to the mother.

Domestic peafowl environments on farms or in backyards of domestic homes tend to mimic that of the wild, consisting of enclosed spaces with lots of greenery, as peafowl are most comfortable in areas where they can find quick hiding places. To protect the enclosure from predators, peafowl keepers typically install underground fencing and a secure top. In certain areas where flying predators are common, keepers may also install electric fencing to ensure the safety of their peafowl. If the domestic climate is cooler than what peafowl are used to, electric heaters or other types of heat sources are typically installed in the enclosure. Peafowl also require a roosting area, so domestic keepers usually create makeshift roosts with wooden dowels if there are no trees in the immediate vicinity.

Before a female peahen lays her eggs, she creates a small nesting area on the ground that consists of four sticks. She lays her eggs, then proceeds to perch over them until they are ready to hatch. While peacocks are known for their beautiful, colorful feathers, peahens look completely different. They do have a splash of blue or green around their necks, but their bodies tend to be light brown in color with white bellies. This difference in coloring is so the peahen can easily blend in with her surrounding environment when caring for her young.