Blue India Peafowl

Pavo cristatus

My "peadeck" with a mature Black-shouldered male, 3 Blue India hens, a juvenile White male and an Oaten hen

In 1963 the peacock was declared the National Bird of India because of it's rich religious and legendary involvement in Indian traditions. (Does this make it the world's first sexist national bird? What happened to the poor peahen?)

A peahen's clutch may range from 3—12 eggs, although 4—6 is average. The eggs are usually laid 2 days apart and in the later afternoon. Peafowl eggs take 28 days to hatch. The young are known as peachicks. For tips on raising peachicks, go to Raising Chicks. For ideas on acclimating newly acquired adult peacocks and peahens refer to the section on acclimating guineas.

For a breeding trio of peafowl you should have a minmum of 400 square feet (37 square metres). Larger pens are better. The roof should be at least 6 1/2 feet high, with sheltered roosts at least 40 inches off the ground.

Peacocks don't develop their long trains until they are 3 years old and they molt the train yearly. In New York they begin the molt in late July or early August and are finished by September. Here's a shot of my Black-shouldered male "Magritte" taken in early fall and another (poor) shot from December, when his train was about half grown back in. The train is not actually the peacock's tail. The train itself is composed of 100—150 upper tail coverts, which are supported by 20 retrices (true tail feathers).

More variety -- From left: A Spalding hen, a Silver Pied hen, a Spalding Dark Pied hen, a yearling White male and in the background a Spalding Pied male

Sexing Peafowl

Young Peafowl are not easy to sex. If you have a bunch of the same age, by a couple months the males will usually have longer legs. Another tip is the color of the outer primaries. This shows up fairly early. Below are some pictures of the primary feathers on male and female Peafowl.

The two shots on the left are a yearling male, on the right an adult female
Photos courtesy of Andrea Wieboldt

Blue India

The peacock I'm sure you all know. The ladies are called peahens! These are the peafowl that live wild in Asia. The other forms, such as White and Oaten, are varieties that have been developed through selectively breeding domestic populations.


Here's a 3 second, 463K movie of my Black-shouldered peafowl courting.

The difference between Blue India (left) and Black-shouldered peacocks
The green on the back occurs in both forms, but you can't see it on this Blue India as his wing is sitting a little high.

[image of 
feathers on a peacock's back]

And here's a little of that green!
The above three images courtesy of Bill and Sue Tivol

And if you're wondering why a peacock has such a fancy display?

Molt: Peafowl, in the US at least, molt their trains sometime between midsummer and early fall. The new one is usually grown in by late winter.

This is my Pied Black-shouldered male "Salvador" right after he molted and about a couple months after molting

My Blue India / Black-shouldered male "Matisse" with his new train about halfway grown in
Photo courtesy of Ginger Carson



Midnight Black-shouldered



Opal Black-shouldered



Silver Pied



[A photograph of Snowman]

The White Peacock "Chantilly Snowman"
1 June 1989--18 March 2001

White Eyed

Peafowl x Guinea hybrids

Two peachicks, the dark one on the right is a Blue India and the lighter one is a Cameo
(the "headless" body belongs to a turkey poult)

Photo courtesy of Nicole Reggia

Three peachicks with their foster mother, a Brazilian Game hen
Photo courtesy of Maxine Heasman

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