Suddenly, here’s a quiz. Who do you think is the bird with its bright blue body and magnificent feathers with eyeball-like patterns?
The answer is the secretly popular “peafowl” that are often kept in zoos and schools.
However, if you think about it, you may have seen peafowls before, but you may not know much about their ecology and characteristics.
Let’s take a peek into the world of peafowls together in this article to find out what characteristics and secrets peafowls have!



~ Basic information. ~

Aves-Galliformes-Phasianidae-Peafowl genus.

Indian Peafowl
Male length:230cm(Of these, 160cm are decorative feathers.)weight:4~6kg.
Female length:90cm weight:3~4Kg.

Here we will mainly introduce the Indian peafowl, a type of peafowl.

Indian peafowls live in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, etc., And are treated with great care as sacred birds in their habitat.

They tend to prefer slightly open areas and often live in forests, grasslands, and fields with short trees.

Indian peafowls are polygamous and live in small herds, mainly males, in the wild.

The breeding season is from March to July, laying 3 to 8 eggs at a time, and the eggs hatch after 28 days of heating. The chicks are brown and plain all over, but as they grow up, they become peafowl-like in color.

Peafowls are omnivorous birds that eat basically anything.

In the wild, they seem to feed on plants, their seeds, fruits, insects, and small reptiles and amphibians. The zoo feeds them chicken food, but they also seem to eat komatsuna and chingensai.





Why are peafowl wings so pretty?

The male peafowl has a very brightly colored body and wings.

In particular, the 150 to 200 feathers that grow from the waist, called the upper tail tube, are famous for their fan-like spread and beautiful patterns that look like eyeballs.

Wild animals are more likely to be found by enemies if their bodies and wings are flashy in color, so they may be eaten quickly.

Also, if there are large decorative feathers, their movement will be slower and they will get caught on tree branches.

Therefore, in the wild, the more flamboyant and conspicuous you are, and the more magnificent your ornamental feathers are, the more difficult it will be to survive in the harsh nature.

Even so, it is thought that the reason why male peafowls have beautiful and large decorative feathers is to get the female to choose them.

Males of peafowls seem to be more popular with females the more vivid the eyeball pattern of the wings and the better the display.

※Display is the act of appealing to females by spreading wings or dancing while singing loudly.

It’s kind of interesting to think that the more flamboyant the males, the more opportunities they have to mate with females.

By the way, peafowl females also have beautiful colors, but unfortunately they look very plain when lined up with males.


I saw a peafowl without a long wing, is it some kind of disease?

No, I’m not sick.
The upper tail tube, which beautifully decorates the male peafowl, does not actually grow all year round. They grow at the same time as the breeding season, but fall out after the breeding season.

The feathers that fall out are sometimes disinfected and then processed into accessories and other ornaments.


Is it true that peafowls are surprisingly violent?

It’s true.
During the breeding season, peafowl males become temperamental in order to protect their territories.They then become aggressive toward the same male or an animal that is larger than them, and immediately start a fight.

When males with the same power start to fight with each other, the battle can last for a day or more.

Incidentally, even males kept in zoos are said to have a rough temperament during the breeding season, and it is not uncommon for them to attack their accustomed keepers.


What types of peafowls are there?

There are three main types of peafowls, and the most commonly kept in zoos in Japan is the “indian peafowl”.
One of the best features of Indian peafowls is the bright blue color around the neck. Probably, if you were asked to imagine a peafowl, many people would imagine an indian peafowl.

The next one I’d like to introduce is the “green peafowl” which lives in China, Myanmar, Java, and the Malay Peninsula.

Green peafowls are characterized by their bright green neck and are larger than Indian peafowls. Green peafowl males are the largest birds in the order galliformes, with a maximum length of about 300cm.

The last one I would like to introduce is the “congo peafowl” which lives in central Africa and is considered to be the ancestor of other peafowls.

They look darker and more subdued than Indian peafowls and green peafows, but males have white crown feathers on their heads, while females have brown crown feathers on their heads.

By the way, in Japan, they are only bred at the Yokohama City Breeding Center in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture.


Can peafowls be kept as pets?

Some of you may have seen peafowls at zoos or tourist spots and wanted to keep them as pets. So can peafowls actually be kept as pets?

Peafowls have long been popular as pets worldwide, and can be kept as pets in Japan, just like chickens and parakeets.

In this article, we will proceed with the content assuming the case of a peafowl as a pet in Japan.

Of the three types of peafowls, the Indian peafowl and the green peafowl can be bought at farms for their chicks and eggs. Since there are concerns about the extinction of congo peafowls, it is thought to be difficult to obtain them.

However, there is a law in Japan called the “Invasive Alien Species Law”. Based on the Invasive Alien Species Act, Indian peafowls are classified as “invasive species requiring emergency measures”.

Currently, there is no problem in buying, selling, or keeping Indian peafowls’ chicks and eggs, but if they are designated as “specified alien species” in the future, they will not be allowed to be kept as new pets unless there is a special reason.

Incidentally, even if an indian peafowl is born from a parent of normal color, it may be born with its entire body, including its wings and beak, completely white. This is a white variety of the indian peafowl, also known as the “white peafowl”.


Is it true that there are wild peafowls in Japan?

It’s true.Originally, peafowls are found only in Asia and Africa.

However, because of their beautiful appearance, they are often kept at tourist spots, schools, and private homes, and the peafowls that were kept there somehow escaped and became wild.

In particular, Miyako Island and Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture are said to be home to thousands of wild peafowls, which eat the animals that originally live there and cause damage to crops.

Every year, peafowls are exterminated to reduce the damage, but it seems that the results are not as good as expected.

However, this problem is not a peafowls fault. It is important to remember that peafowls were only brought to Japan from overseas for human reasons, escaped, and bred there.

Considering that the same thing has happened to other animals, not just peafowls, it is easy to understand that once you get an animal, it is important not to let it escape and not to throw it away.


Can you eat peafowl meat?

It may come as a surprise, but you can actually eat peafowl meat.

Miyako Island in Okinawa Prefecture, which I mentioned earlier, is researching and developing ways to use peafowl meat so that the exterminated peafowls are not wasted.

Some restaurants and restaurants in Miyakojima offer curry and soba noodles made with peafowl meat, and some customers come to the restaurant for the peafowl meat.

Outside of Okinawa Prefecture, peafowl hamburgers and pasta are sometimes served at French restaurants in Tokyo that serve gibier cuisine.

By the way, peafowls can be eaten not only with meat, but also with eggs. Peafowl eggs are about a size larger than chicken eggs, but the taste is almost the same as chicken eggs.


How long do peafowls live?

The life span of a peafowl is thought to be about 20-25 years.
They grow surprisingly slowly, and it takes males about 3-4 years and females about 2 years to reach sexual maturity.By the way, when males reach sexual maturity, they grow a magnificent upper tail tube.


What enemies do peafowls have?

Natural enemies of wild peafowls are carnivores such as the indian grey mongoose and jungle cat, as well as leopards and bengal tigers.

Considering that the number of green peafowls and congo peafowls has been reduced by habitat development, humans may be one of the enemies.

Since green peafowls are kept all over the world, there is little fear of extinction, but there is a concern that the congo peafowl will eventually become extinct if this trend continues.



Type of peafowl.

・Indian Peafowl
・Green Peafowl
・Congo Peafowl


C.M.ペリンズ, A.L.A.ミドルトン(1986年)『動物大百科7 鳥類Ⅰ』平凡社









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