Though peacocks are the national bird of India, they are considered an invasive species in the West. Known collectively as peafowl, peacock actually refers to the males of the species, while peahen refers to the females. The two most common species, the Indian and green peafowl, are native to India, Sri Lanka, Java, Myanmar, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They were transported to Europe and America as domestic species and raised as game animals, pets, and wealthy status symbols.
Colorful iridescent green and blue plumage make peacocks attractive animals. Their distinctive trains, made up of long, colorful feathers that cover their tails, often sport large eye spots known as ocelli. Peacocks can spread their trains into large, impressive fans behind themselves, which makes them appear larger in order to woo potential mates or frighten predators. Peahens are more subdued and have camouflaged feathers that help them blend into their surroundings.
Wild peafowl live in open forests and rainforests throughout Southern Asia and parts of Africa. At night, the birds fly up into the treetops to roost. Nesting peahens dig shallow holes in thickets of grass for the purpose of laying eggs and rearing chicks. In residential areas, peacocks tend to roost in shade trees or among shrubbery.
Are peacocks known to enter homes or yards?
Peafowl do not generally enter homes but can become serious nuisances in residential yards. Owners who do not take the proper steps to condition their birds to stay within the bounds of their property quickly lose peafowl. Peacocks and peahens enter yards to roost in trees for the night, wander into the street to stand on cars, and even fly up onto rooftops. Gardens and agricultural areas are at risk of infestation, as well.
Do peacocks harm people or property?
The large birds may be aggressive during mating season and peck, bite, kick, and scratch with their sharp beaks and powerful feet. While searching for food, peafowl tear up lawns, gardens, and flowerbeds. Automobiles may suffer from the presence of peafowl, as the birds attack their own reflections in windshields and shiny paint jobs. During the early morning and the late evening, peacocks give extremely loud, shrill cries, making large numbers of the birds intolerable in residential neighborhoods.
Control and Safety
When cornered, peafowl scratch and peck, so individuals should never attempt to handle the birds directly. Spraying peafowl with hoses often drives them away. Securing outdoor pet food or feeding pets indoors discourages activity by removing an accessible food source. Compost heaps attract insects that peafowl like to eat, so removing or fencing in garbage and compost is another way to make yards less attractive to the birds.
Trapping and Removal
Wildlife control experts should be consulted in the face of peafowl problems because the birds can be tricky to trap. The birds can often be captured by experts and relocated to responsible pet owners or peafowl refuges across the country.