Unless you live in one of the countries we’re about to tell you about, you’ve probably only seen peacocks in zoos or nature parks. So where do peacocks come from in nature? In the wild, peacocks are primarily found in the countries of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Java, and Myanmar, with a rarer species found in Africa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Now that you know where peacocks live, read on to learn more about these gorgeous birds and their natural habitats!
Peacocks: The Basics
For starters, let’s get really basic: the term “peacock” technically only refers to the male birds, although it’s commonly used to refer to all of them. Peafowl is the true term for these birds, with females being peahens.
There are two common species of peafowl: the blue peacock and the green peacock. A third species, the Congo peacock, is less well-known.
The blue peacock, technically named the Indian Blue Peafowl, has a natural range in the countries of India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. It is the largest member of the pheasant family and the national bird of India. Sometimes, a genetic mutation occurs in these birds, resulting in a stunning white peacock.
These are the species of peacock most familiar to us, often seen in zoos. The males’ tail feathers can fan out into a display 6-7 feet wide and 3 feet tall.
Green peacocks, sometimes called Javanese peacocks, live in Southeast Asia from Java to Myanmar. They are an endangered species, threatened by overhunting and habitat loss. It’s believed that between 10,000-20,000 adults remain in the wild.
Congo peacocks were only discovered in 1936 and are found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the African continent. They are considered a vulnerable species in terms of conservation status. They are smaller and less impressive in appearance than the other species of peafowl.
Natural Habits and Habitats
No matter what country they live in, peafowl prefer similar natural habitats. They inhabit primarily open forests, with space to flock and forage on the ground during the day. At night, peafowl roost high up in trees, away from predators.
Because of the loss of habitat to the human population, peafowl have adapted to live among people in some cases, foraging in city parks and natural spaces.
Peafowl are omnivores, who feed on bugs, plants, and other small animals.
We’re all familiar with the flashy, colorful feathers of the peacock, which he uses to attract several peahens for breeding. The peahens usually lay 3-8 eggs at a time. Peachicks take two weeks to grow enough feathers to fly up into the trees and until then, they are at high risk from predators.
Are There Wild Peacocks In North America?
We’ve learned that peafowl are native to Asia and Africa but if you live in certain areas of the United States, it sure might seem like there are wild peacocks around!
It’s believed that peafowl were first brought to America in the late 19th century by a California rancher. Today, there are feral or semi-tame flocks of peafowl in several U.S. states, including California, Florida, and Texas. Most of these birds were originally pets who escaped or were turned loose and formed their own flocks.
Feral peafowl populations can be a nuisance and are at risk of being killed or injured thanks to human activity. They are considered an invasive species in many areas.
Can You Keep Peacocks As Pets?
Peacocks have been popular status symbol pets for thousands of years. They aren’t exactly cuddly creatures but they sure look impressive strutting around!
Peacocks can be legally kept as pets in many states and countries but you should always double-check in your particular area before getting one. Also, make sure you do your research and make sure you have the space and knowledge to properly care for a pet peacock. As we mentioned, many of the wild peacock population in America were once pets.
Peacocks don’t always get along with other types of domestic birds like chickens, so use caution if you are adding these flashy creatures to an existing flock.
Like many wild exotic species, peafowl are now regularly found far from their native lands. These Asian and African natives can even be found harassing the citizens of Los Angeles in search of handouts. The fate of these former pet peafowl serves as a cautionary tale to anyone thinking of getting an exotic pet. Just because an animal looks interesting or beautiful doesn’t mean it will make a great pet. Purchasing an exotic pet is a commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and that includes a peafowl. It’s also important to check on the legalities of owning such an animal in your area.
Featured Image Credit: MarcoPazzini, Pixabay