Peacocks are the showiest, flamboyant, and beautiful birds in the world. Male peacocks especially are known for their breathtaking, colorful tails, mesmerizing patterns, and shimmering, iridescent feathers. It is well known that courtship in the animal kingdom plays an important role.
Male peacocks show off their incredible tails as a form of courtship or attracting the attention of female peacocks, also known as a peahen. The bigger and shinier the tail, the higher the chance the peacocks will be noticed and attract a potential mating partner. A male peacocks’ tail is essential to its health and vitality, as well as an essential part of showing off that he is healthy and ready for mating.
But, this is pretty much information known to all of us. What we don’t talk about frequently is the life of a peacock beyond the story of its magnificent tail. For example, what do peacocks eat and what are their diet preferences. So, if you’re wondering the same, then keep scrolling. In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a look at the interesting peacock diet and explore the foods they eat. Without further ado, let’s get started!
Peacock Diet – Everything Peacocks Love To Eat
Known as omnivores, peacocks are known to eat different kinds of foods. Now, depending on where a peacock lives geographically and what type of a peacock it is, the diet can vary and preferences can change from one type to the other. So, we think the best way to describe peacock diet preferences is to look at each type of peacock and see what they like to eat.
Indian peacock, also known as common or blue peacocks, is a native peacock species native to the Indian subcontinent or Southeast Asia. It is characterized by incredibly beautiful feathers and a tail that can be up to 5 feet long. Male Indian peacocks show off their spectacular fans of different colors and patterns during mating. The male and the female Indian peacock differ significantly in appearance.
Generally speaking, Indian peacocks are omnivores. However, the main foods these birds eat include insects, worms, reptiles, and amphibians. When it comes to plants, Indian peacocks eat fruits, grains, nuts, roots, flowers, etc. Because Indian peacocks inhabit grassland, mountains, rainforests, and savannah, the diet preferences can change.
The Green peaflow, also known as Indonesian peaflow, is a peacock species native to the tropical forests and areas of Southeast Asia. This type of peacock generally inhabits countries like Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Cambodia. It is characterized by incredibly beautiful, iridescent green feathers. Due to the deforestation of Southeast Asia and the loss of habitat, green peacocks have been listed as an endangered species by the IUCN Red List.
The male and the female green peacocks are similar in appearance, which is unusual for peaflows.
When it comes to diet preferences, green peacocks are also omnivores. However, they focus on foods like fruits, invertebrates, rodents, reptiles, and frogs. Sometimes, green peacocks hunt and eat venomous snakes, termites, ticks, etc. They also eat berries, flower petals, buds, and so much more. However, these are green peacocks’ favorite food choices.
The Congo peaflow, also known as African peaflow or mbulu is a special kind of peacock native to the Congo Basin and African continent. This peaflow is characterized by reddish-brown feathers, that can also be of deep green and deep blue color. The metallic shine is characteristic of the male Congo peaflow’s feathers.
Unlike the Asian peaflows, the Congo peacock has red neck skin and grey feet. It doesn’t have as an impressive tail as Indian or green peaflows, but still, the tail of the Congo male peacock is incredibly beautiful. The Congo peaflow is listed as ‘vulnerable species’ according to the IUCN Red List thanks to illegal mining, shifting, and cultivation.
When it comes to diet preferences, Congo peaflow is a fan of common fruit selections in the African ecosystem. It will also eat insects and invertebrate species, as well as small animals the peacocks find alongside the Congo Rivers, watersheds, slopes, and forests.
Wilderness Vs. Captivity Diet Differences
Unfortunately, because of their beauty, peacocks are being held captive all around the world. Even though these are wild birds, mean to roam nature in search of food, in captivity they’re being forced to lead a sedentary lifestyle. This can affect the health of the peacocks as well as their life expectancy. Generally, in captivity peacocks tend to live longer since they don’t develop common diseases, but they do experience major kidney and bowel issues which make the quality of their life poor.
Now, the peacocks have a different diet depending on whether they’re in the wilderness or in captivity. For example, peacocks in the wilderness eat insects, worms, rodents, frogs, flowers, fruits, berries, etc. In addition, they need to move around and hunt or search for their food, so wild peacocks lead active lives.
In captivity, on the other hand, peacocks generally eat chopped greens, chopped fruits, cooked rice, bread, corn, pellets, and other, similar food that replicated their natural diet preferences in the wilderness.
Other Interesting Peaflow Diet Facts
It can be hard to imagine, but peacocks actually have to hunt in order to get nutrients in the wilderness. For example, they have exceptional vision and hearing which they use to hunt reptiles, insects, fish, and amphibians. Of course, they use their beaks to actually grab the prey and eat it.
Sometimes, peacocks tend to fly up in the higher areas from where they observe the lower areas. Thanks to their exceptional eyesight, they spot prey at a great distance, fly down, ambush, and eat the prey. It can be really hard to imagine such a bird doing all sorts of hunting, but that is how wild peacocks survive.
Now, peacocks hunt often; because they require a high-protein diet, the protein intake needs to take place several times a day. To remain healthy, peacocks hunt almost all the time, either for insects or snails, or bigger prey like snakes or rodents. If nothing, they will move around looking for flowers or fruits.
We did mention that peacocks eat venomous snakes. It is important to point out that peacocks eat smaller snakes which they grab by the necks and shake them until they die. Moreover, they eat rattlesnakes, which are of course venomous. In Southeast Asia, peacocks are called ‘killer of snakes’ in Sanskrit, which makes them revered for their ability to kill and eat regular and venomous sakes, including young cobras and rattlesnakes.
But, how do they do that? Well, it seems that venomous snakes are not toxic for peacocks. The only way a snake can actually impact a peacock’s health is when a snake is infected by viruses, bacteria, or parasites. Peacocks also eat rats, centipedes, termites, frogs, and mice which is a pretty interesting selection of foods.
And finally, considering the fact that peacocks are almost completely defenseless, they are often prey to large animals, like wild cats, wild dogs, other, larger birds, etc. As such, peacocks contribute to the ecosystem and the wildlife as they provide the necessary proteins to these animals, ensuring their survival.
Peacocks surely have an interesting diet. Of course, the diet preferences change depending on the type of peacock, but the bottom line is the same; peacocks like their insects, rodents, mice, and rats, snakes, fruits, and flowers. The diet preferences expand as the environment changes, but all peacocks require high-protein nutrition to stay healthy.
In captivity, their diet changes, which can promote their life expectancy but also contribute to health issues due to a sedentary lifestyle and different sources of protein. Overall, we hope this little insight into the dietary preferences of peacocks was interesting. Make sure to keep reading for other interesting articles about the dietary preferences of other animals.