Can Peacocks Fly? (Facts & Figures)
There are a few things that might shed some doubt on the flying ability of peacocks – like the large body or the long tail feathers – but it turns out none of these are rendering peacocks flightless.
Surprising as it may sound, peacocks can fly. Just not for very long nor too high. Nor do they fly very often. They prefer staying on the ground and doing what they do best – foraging and scavenging for food.
Below, I will cover everything you need to know about how peacocks fly and whether peacocks will fly away from your backyard if you decide to get yourself one of these birds.
How Far and High Can Peacocks Fly?
It must be said about peacocks that they don’t fly fast, nor do they fly for long distances.
When they do become airborne, they usually fly only as high as 8 feet. This height is enough to land them in a tree or on a rooftop.
Peacocks don’t normally take to the air, but if disturbed or frightened by something, they might launch into the air.
That said, even when they do fly, they only cover distances of about 300 yards in one try. By any measure, that’s a short distance, but usually enough to get them out of whatever trouble they’re presumably trying to escape.
So, technically, if you have a backyard with a small fence, your peacock will be able to escape. As I explain in this article, the situations in which it will actually want to fly away are so very few that the concern they may fly away is virtually unfounded.
How Fast do Peacocks Fly?
Before peacocks can fly up in the air, they need to build momentum. They do that by running for a bit and then launching into the air.
Other times – when trying to get on a fence or something at a lower height – the peacock simply launches off the ground with a jump followed by a few flaps of its wings.
Peacocks don’t fly at a high speed. They usually reach a speed of 10 mph (16 km/h), sometimes a bit more. Their running speed is also 10 mph.
When already on the roof of a house or in a tree and they want to get back on the ground, peacocks will glide down and upon landing they run for a bit to slow down their momentum.
Peacocks are limited in their flight manoeuvres. In fact, you won’t see them doing any intricate flying manoeuvres, other getting on and off trees or rooftops.
When do Peacocks Fly?
Peacocks don’t really fly unless they must. And that’s usually when frightened by something or when trying to escape a predator.
Another reason why peacocks might fly up into a tree is at night, when they roost in larger groups. In the wild, they may roost in groups of 100-200 birds.
They use elevated areas for roosting as a measure to protect themselves from predators.
The predators of peacocks in the wild include leopards, tigers, mongooses, jungle cats, and stray dogs.
Peacocks have adapted well to life on the ground, where they forage and hunt for food. It’s only when they’re disturbed or trying to get away from something that they fly.
Can Female Peacocks Fly?
Yes, both the male and female peafowls are able to fly and fly with the same technique of launching themselves into the air.
I’d even argue that the peahen is at a better flight advantage compared to the male of the species based on the fact that it’s both smaller and weighs less than the male.
Not to mention that the females lack the long train that males do. Compared to the length of the male’s train of around 70 to 98 inches, the female’s is just around 55 to 63 inches.
However, a study was conducted by the University of Leeds on this very topic of whether the flight of peacocks is hindered by their long train feathers. Turns out that the long train had no detectable effect on a peacock’s ability to take flight.
The way they measured this is by clipping off the tail feathers of some peacocks and comparing their ability to fly to those peacocks whose train feathers were left intact.
Surprising as it was, the train feathers made no difference since both peacocks struggled just as much to take flight.
So it’s possible that other factors, or a combination of factors, is what makes these birds inadequate fliers.
At What Age do Peacocks Start Flying?
Baby peacocks can fly at a very early age because their flight feathers develop quickly. This allows baby peacocks to fly as soon as they’re about 3 days old.
But just because they can technically fly already, it doesn’t mean they will do so. It takes them a couple of weeks before they can fly without the risk of injuring themselves.
By the time they reach 6 months of age, baby peacocks can fly just as any adult peacock does.
Will Peacocks Fly Away from Your Backyard?
The main reasons why peacocks might try to fly away from your backyard are:
- Overcrowded pen or lack of enough space
- Stress of being relocated
Peacocks are large birds that need plenty of space to move about. If there are too many peacocks in your backyard or you’re housing peacocks with other domesticated birds, they may try to fly away if they don’t have enough space of their own.
The fear of predators can also determine peacocks to fly away from your backyard. Sometimes something as simple as the presence of a dog that doesn’t leave them alone can trigger their flight instinct.
Peacocks will also try to escape if they’re relocated to an unfamiliar space.
Managing these things by ensuring adequate housing, protection from predators, and spending time with your peacocks to build trust can ensure that they’ll stay grounded and won’t attempt to fly away.
Peacocks are not accomplished fliers, but when in need, they can take flight. Even though they don’t fly at high altitudes nor do they fly at a great speed, they can fly on top of a tree or onto a rooftop without issues.
If you want to keep peafowls in your backyard, make sure you understand what is it that triggers the flight response for these birds, and try to reduce any risk of them flying away.