Common peacock

Common peacock

Pavo cristatus

Common name:

Common peacock

Scientific name:

Pavo cristatus

Alternative common names:


The common peacock male is large in size, with head plumes, blue body and massive tail, while the female has a whitish face, green neck, mottled upper breast and white lower breast and belly. They come from Asia (Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka), and naturalised populations are distributed in some parts of South Africa (mainly in the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces).

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

Asia (Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka)

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

Peacocks are not a legislated invasive species but are regarded as exotic nuisance species.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Found in the Western Cape (Robben Island and Cape Town), and Eastern Cape (Port Elizabeth and East London)

How does it spread?

Feral populations may develop from neglected domestic birds.

Why is it a problem?

No record in South Africa, but the common peacock is known to eat eggs and chicks of seabirds.

What does it look like?

Description: A distinctive bird, the male can display his tail feathers in a large fan, showing the colourful blue, yellow and red circular ‘eyes’. The male has a metallic blue and a tuft of erect head plumes and a glossy bluish-green body. The female has whitish face, green neck, mottled upper breast and white lower breast and belly, with brownish-grey upperparts. Female peacocks are smaller and duller than the males and lack the trailing tail feathers.

In Asia, favours dry deciduous forest along streams or other permanent water, often near open grass areas, also in orchards and other cultivation near villages. In South Africa, favours invasive alien vegetation. On Robben Island they rely on the dense strands of alien Acacia, pine and gluegum trees for shelter and roosting.

The nest consists of a shallow scrape in ground in dense thicket, usually lined with sticks and leaves. Occasionally in buildings, on roofs or in hollows among branches of large trees. Females lay 3-6 eggs, exceptionally as many as 12 eggs.

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