What Do Peafowl Eat?

Peafowl are beautiful exotic birds known for their colorful and elaborate plumage. Native to South Asia, peacocks have been introduced to many other parts of the world and can now be found in a variety of different climates. 

Peafowl are known for their long, iridescent tail feathers, which they spread out in a fan-like shape to attract mates or to deter predators. The male peacock is the one with the long tail feathers, while the female is called a peahen. Peafowl are generally found in forests, grasslands, and other natural habitats.

But what exactly is the standard diet for a peafowl? In this article, we are going to be looking at what the peacock commonly eats in the wild and in captivity. Let’s get started. 

Photo by Imogen Warren

Types of Peafowl

Before we get started, let’s first take a look at the different kinds of peafowl. 

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)

Photo by Nihaljabin

As shown in the range map below (purple color), the Indian Peafowl is naturally found in India, southern Pakistan and Nepal. Elsewhere, they are coded in orange as exotic, meaning they have been introduced and are not naturally occuring.

The Indian Peafowl, also known as the Common Peafowl, is the most well-known and widespread species of the peacock. It is the national bird of India.

Congo Peafowl (Afropavo congensis)

Photo by Arjan-Haverkamp

The Congo Peafowl is native to the rainforests of Central and West Africa and is smaller and less colorful than the Indian Peafowl.

This bird is very rare and in fact, there are only 16 observations on eBird.

Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus)

Photo by Panji Gusti Akbar

The Green Peafowl looks similar to the Indian Peafowl but has a green head and neck and incredible blue and orange facial markings. It is native to parts of Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Loas, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

In addition to these three species, there are also several subspecies of peacocks, including the Java Peafowl and the Black-shouldered Peafowl. These subspecies are found in specific regions and may have slight variations in their appearance or behavior.

As we move on to consider the diet and care of Peafowl, we are talking specifically about Indian Peafowl.

Wild Peafowl Diets

You may be surprised to know that Peafowl are omnivorous birds, which means that they eat both plant and animal material. The birds are known to be opportunistic feeders and will eat a wide variety of different types of food depending on what is available in their habitat. This will include:

  • flower buds
  • rice
  • fruits
  • worms
  • arthropods – insects, larvae, centipededes, grasshoppers, termites etc
  • reptiles
  • seeds
  • human excreta

Diets for Peacocks in Captivity

Peacocks living in captivity may be fed a diet of seeds, pellets, and other commercial food products specifically formulated for poultry. They may also be given vegetables, fruits, and other supplements to ensure they are receiving a balanced diet. 

Some people may also choose to feed their peacocks a more natural diet, offering them a variety of seeds, insects, and other types of food that they might encounter in the wild. It is important to provide a diverse and nutritious diet for captive peacocks to ensure their health and well-being.

Photo by Rolf Dietrich Brecher

Tips for Feeding Peacocks

Peacocks are beautiful and friendly animals that can make for brilliant pets as well as excellent alarm birds. You do need to have specific knowledge and a certain amount of space to take care of them, though, as well as good working knowledge of the kind of diet that they need to stay happy and healthy. 

With this in mind, let’s go through some tips on how to properly feed a peacock. 

Provide a Diverse Diet: Diverse diets are a necessity for peacocks, with a range of proteins, seeds, and veggies necessary to keep a peacock healthy. Some options for seeds include sunflower seeds, millet, and safflower seeds. 

Vegetables such as leafy greens, peas, and sweet potatoes can also be offered, as well as fruits like apples, berries, and melon. In addition to these staples, you can also offer insects such as meal worms, crickets, and wax worms as a protein source.

Offer a Consistent Source of Clean, Fresh Water: Peacocks need access to clean water at all times, so be sure to provide a clean and accessible water source for them.

Avoid Overfeeding: Peacocks can become overweight if they are fed too much, so be sure to monitor their food intake and offer appropriate portion sizes.

Supplements: Peacocks may benefit from certain supplements in their diet, particularly if they are not getting enough of certain nutrients from their regular diet.

Some potential supplements for peacocks include calcium, which is important for strong bones and egg production, and vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium.

Peacocks may also benefit from other supplements, such as amino acids and fatty acids, which are important for proper growth and development.

It is important to speak with a veterinarian or an avian nutritionist before adding any supplements to a peacock’s diet, as over supplementation can be harmful.

Photo by Félix Potuit

Avoid Feeding Peacocks Foods That Are Toxic or Unhealthy: Some foods can be toxic to peacocks and should be avoided. These include:

  • Chocolate
  • Avocado
  • Uncooked Beans
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Garlic
  • Onions

Keep Feeding Areas Clean: Be sure to clean up any uneaten food or spillage to prevent the buildup of bacteria and parasites.

Protein: It is important to remember the importance of protein in a peacocks diet, as it is an essential nutrient that is not only necessary for the growth and repair of tissues, but one that also aids with the production of enzymes and hormones and encourages the maintenance of a strong immune system. 

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your peacocks are receiving the proper nutrition they need to stay healthy and happy.

Photo by Imogen Warren

Final Thoughts

So there you have everything that you need to know about the diet of a peacock, including the foods that they commonly consume in the wild as well as what they can eat in captivity.

We have also included what foods can be toxic to peacocks and how to appropriately maintain their diet if you are considering getting a pet peacock. 

Just remember to ensure that you have the necessary space and knowledge of the beautiful bird before you decided to get one as a pet!


Do Peafowl make good pets?

Peafowl are certainly interesting animals to be around but if you have one as a pet, then it is for appearance really. Don’t expect a Peafowl to fetch a ball or play with you!

How long do Peafowl live?

In the wild the average lifespan of a Peafowl is 15 years. With good care in captivity, this is likely to be extended.

Are Peafowl noisy?

Yes, they can be very loud especially during the breeding season. If you are planning to have one then you should have a lot of space for it.

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