The peacock – or peacock, is technically correct, as the term “Peacock” refers to the male and “peacock” is the female – is renowned for its beautiful tail feathers and is usually kept as a pet on small farms.
Peacocks are omnivores and quite opportunistic eaters. They will eat almost anything they can find, including the pieces they find while sifting through your trash! In the wild, they will forage for seeds, insects, mice, lizards, snakes and frogs, so you should imitate these varieties in captivity as they require a high-protein diet.
In this article, we look at what peacocks eat naturally in the wild and how you can replicate that diet in captivity. Let’s get started!
There are three distinct varieties of Peacock: Indian Peacock, Green Peacock, and Congo Peacock, all of which have slightly different diets in their natural habitat. Although they are all omnivores and mostly opportunistic eaters, their habitat determines a large part of their diet.
As the name suggests, the Indian Peacock comes from India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan and is predominantly blue in color. They are the most well-known variety, with some of the most striking plumage. They can be found in a variety of habitats including savannas, mountains, and rainforests.
The Green Peacock has become critically endangered in recent decades and is mostly found in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia. They also inhabit many different environments, including forests, scrublands, and savannas.
The Congo Peacock originates from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in central Africa and is one of the least known of the three Peacock varieties. They don’t have the striking tail feathers like the Indian Peacock, but their plumage is still beautifully colored.
What Do Peacocks Eat in the Wild?
One of the main and favorite foods of all varieties of Peacock is insects. Peacocks are not picky when it comes to insects and will easily eat ants, maggots, crickets, worms and even spiders. They are often seen scratching the ground looking for worms and maggots, and even in captivity, if left to roam, they will search for insects all day long.
Lizards, small snakes, rodents, and frogs are also fair game for a wild Peacock, and as long as it can fit in the Peacock’s mouth, they will likely eat it! These reptiles and amphibians are rich in protein and provide essential nutrients for peacocks. If there were enough of them, they would make up most of their meal. The same goes for snails and slugs. While Peacocks do eat flowers, they mostly tear flowers apart in search of slugs!
Another important part of the wild Peacock’s diet are fruits and vegetables. Any delicious fruit available will be a welcome treat for Peacocks, and they can also be found eating real vegetables and leaves. Most Peacocks will develop a taste for whatever fruit is available in their area.
What should you feed a Peacock as a pet?
The diet of captured peacocks should imitate their wild diet as closely as possible, with as much variation as possible. Feeding peacocks only seeds or grains like you would any other bird is a mistake, as they need the nutrients provided by insects, reptiles and amphibians.
If your Peacock roams freely around your yard (as they should), they will likely have access to lots of tasty and nutritious insects and even some frogs, mice, or lizards. However, this is not always the case, so you should give them an occasional extra insect just to make sure they get the protein they need.
They also need a commercial diet specially formulated for the species. If you can’t get peacock food, a diet formulated for turkeys and pheasants will do. This commercial diet should provide them with about a third of their overall diet, perhaps more during the winter months. Small amounts of dog or cat food are also suitable as an occasional high protein treat if you’re worried you’re not getting enough.
What should you avoid giving Peacock?
Most human food, in general, should not be given to Peacocks. Most processed foods contain sugar, wheat, preservatives, dyes, and some other ingredients that are not healthy for Peacocks. Also, most of these foods are low in overall nutrients and can irritate their fragile digestive system and should be kept away from your pet peacock.
Foods to avoid to feed your Peacock include:
In the wild, Peacocks are opportunistic hunters who will eat almost anything they come across and are not picky at all. From seeds and insects to rodents, frogs and even snakes, anything that can get into a Peacock’s mouth is fair game. In captivity, you should try to replicate this diet as closely as possible, with about a third of their diet being high-quality commercial food.
Featured Image Credit: Piqsels