Baby peacocks - which are actually called peachicks - are the chicks of any of the three species of peafowl; the Indian peafowl, Congo peafowl and Green peafowl. Peacocks are actually just male peafowl, even though the word is typically used for both male or female peafowl (who are called peahens).
Every large and impressive peafowl begins life as a rather small peachick - a baby peacock.
This article includes everything you need to know about baby peacocks, and of course, there will be plenty of pictures of baby peacocks along the way!
Baby peacocks are actually male peachicks. The correct name for any baby peacock or peahen is a peachick.
Peacocks and peahens are virtually impossible to tell apart when they’re firstborn. They’re covered in light brown fluffy down and striped wing feathers that resemble that of a baby pheasant to which peafowl are very closely related.
Peachicks look like gamebirds, very similar to baby pheasants. They have pretty long legs also, and males tend to have slightly longer legs than females, which aid in identification.
Some peachicks are born all white, in the case of leucite bred all-white peafowl.
Peacock Chick (Indian Peafowl) with its mother
Baby peacocks are around 12cm (4.7in) long. Peafowl are large birds, and peachicks are reasonably large themselves, a similar size to a cygnet or gosling.
Peachicks weigh 103 grams (3.6 ounces) when born. This is fairly heavy, more than double that of a duckling or five times more than a typical pheasant chick which weighs around 20g.
Baby peacocks are called peachicks. Baby peacocks are male peachicks, whereas baby peahens are female peachicks.
Peafowl display high gender dimorphism, meaning the males and females look different, but peachicks are nearly impossible to tell apart for five months or so.
Three Indian Peafowl Peachicks with their mother
Juvenile peacocks and peahens remain hard to tell apart for around five months and will keep much of their duller, plain brown plumage and striped wings and tails for 1 to 3 years until they reach full maturity. At 2 to 3 months, peachicks begin to develop their crest feathers.
At around five months, male juveniles begin to develop coloured chests. Until the age of 1, the juveniles will still possess virtually none of the striking tail feathers that make adult peacocks so strikingly beautiful.
These ornate tail feathers take a further two years to develop, or sometimes longer. Peahens tend to reach sexual maturity much quicker and grow much of their adult plumage by the time they’re 1-year-old.
A juvenile peacock (Indian Peafowl), walking on the grass
There is no specific name for a group of baby peacocks, but a group of peacocks is usually called an ostentation or a pride, which are both apt names for this striking and impressive bird.
Like fully grown peafowl, peachicks are non-fussy omnivores and generally have a diverse and flexible diet that includes both plant matter and meat of various kinds.
In the wild, peachicks are omnivores and are weaned on soft food by their mothers until they’re able to consume larger, more solid food. Peafowl have quite strong and sharp beaks which develop rather quickly - peachicks will be able to forage insects, arthropods, small animals, amphibians and lizards within 2 weeks to a month.
Peachicks, like adult peafowl, require a high-protein diet to help their feathers grow. In captivity, peachicks are usually fed high-protein gamebird mixes. They’ll also eat all manner of vegetables, grains, oats, fruits and meat in the form of insects and mealworms.
Baby Peacocks foraging for food with their mother
Peafowl eggs are usually light brown. Indian peafowl eggs are around 7.6 to 10cm (3 to 4in) long and inches long and 5 to 7.6cm (2 to 3in) round. They weigh around 100 to 135 grams.
The Indian peafowl can lay as many as 12 eggs with a typical minimum of 3. The Green peafowl lays fewer - usually 3 to 6 eggs. The Congo peafowl similarly lays 4 to 6 eggs.
Peacock eggs in a nest on the ground
Peacocks generally incubate their eggs for around 27 to 30 days, which is quite a standard range for birds in general.
The female peahen sits on the eggs more or less constantly for the entire duration of incubation, only leaving briefly to forage for food.
The Indian peafowl breeding season tends to peak in April to May but may peak as late as June in northern India. There is little data indicating the breeding season for either the Congo peafowl or Green peafowl, but the breeding season of the Congo peafowl is thought to vary with local rainfalls. Green peafowl may breed all year round, with peaks in April through until June.
In the UK, the peacock breeding season runs from March until July.
Baby Peacocks are called Peachicks
Peahens look after the peachicks and will feed them small scraps of food and soft, high-protein grubs and worms. Whilst foraging, the peahen will point out valid food for her peachicks, indicating by pecking at the food source. Peahens also converse with their peachicks via a series of complex vocalisations.
Peafowl are foraging birds but do also hunt small animals and insects. Their powerful feet and sharp beaks ensure that they’re more than capable of killing small animals and reptiles - they have a particular fondness for snakes and lizards.
In fact, in India, peacocks are used to protect homeowners against King Cobra snakes!
Peachicks pay very close attention to their mother in their early weeks and months. The mother communicates during foraging and hunting, both via an array of vocalisations and by pecking foods to encourage the peachicks to eat it themselves. Peachicks that fail to learn how to forage for themselves will typically die.
The mortality rate amongst peachicks is high, so the pressure is on to gain independence from the mother before the end of the season.
A juvenile peachick
Peafowl can fly and do so regularly up to their treetop roosts and perches, but they prefer not to fly much further than that.
Longer flights serve as somewhat of a last resort for escaping predators. It’s rare for any peafowl to fly for much further than one mile.
Peachicks learn to fly quite quickly and many have their first flight at the one to two-week mark. The mother usually encourages the peachicks to attempt flight under the cover of nighttime, often from a perch not too elevated from the ground to avoid injury.
Peacock chicks in the grass
Peahens are very protective over their peachicks for at least 4 to 6 months. Chicks must primarily learn how to forage for their own food and have a great deal of growing to do before they reach sexual maturity.
Once peachicks begin to leave their mother, they’ll likely stay relatively close by until they find mates of their own and begin to move into new territories.
The peahen typically builds a terrestrial nest in a small and shallow hole or burrow lined with sticks. Rarely, they may choose to build a nest in a low-lying tree, but only if they’re worried about nearby predators.
Whilst peafowl are non-migratory and tend to not stray too far from their birthing grounds, they build only basic nests and aren’t well-known for reusing them. Instead, the peahen will simply build a new nest each year.
The Congo peafowl might be an exception here, as they are thought to be monogamous - thus potentially indicating that the peacock assists in nest building. Little information is known about the breeding and mating behaviour of the Congo peacock.
A Peahen and Peachick nesting on the ground
Both Indian peacocks and Green peacocks are polygamous, but contrastingly, the Congo peafowl is thought to be monogamous. Indian and Green peacocks do not help peahens build nests or rear chicks, but detailed information for Congo peafowl is lacking.
Peachicks stay with their mothers for around six months in the wild, usually less in captivity. In fact, in captivity, peahens often have weak parental instincts. As such, peachicks born in captivity might not stay with their mother for long at all.
A white peacock with her chicks
Whilst peacocks typically reach skeletal maturity in around one year, their feathers take much longer to fully develop - typically at least three years.
Most peacocks have very few tail feathers even by the age of 1 - they take another two years to reach something like full sexual maturity. The last element of their feathers to develop is the iridescent eyes which form around the 3-year mark or sometimes longer.
Peachicks are vulnerable during their early days, and only as many as 2 out of every six, approximately 33%, survive through until adulthood. The leading causes of death are predation and illness.
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