Can Peacocks and Turkeys Mate?
If you’re asking this question it’s either because you’ve seen a peacock mount a turkey, or you’ve seen a peacock that resembles a turkey.
Regardless of which of these scenarios you’ve come across, it made you infer that peacocks and turkeys might be able to mate.
So, can a peacock mate with a turkey to create a turkey-peacock hybrid?
Turns out there are instances when peacocks have mated with turkeys, but whether this resulted in a turkey-peacock hybrid, is another matter entirely.
Let’s dig into the facts and find some answers.
Why do Turkey and Peacocks Mate?
Because peacocks have a generally docile demeanor, they’re often kept in the same enclosure with other poultry such as turkeys, chickens, ducks, and several other types of poultry.
This proximity can often lead to interesting outcomes such as a peacock mating with a turkey hen.
There are two cases in which you might see a turkey mate with a peacock – when there are no peahens available or when turkey hens are broody.
So, if there are no peahens in the enclosure, the peacock will pick its mate from turkey hens instead. And if turkey hens are broody, they’ll allow peacocks to mount them.
But peacocks have a tendency to mount many other things, not just turkey hens. There are photos showing peacocks mounting stuffed animals or other inanimate objects.
Therefore, their breeding hormones can make them do things that you might find odd or even hilarious.
If you don’t want your peacocks to mate with your turkey hens, make sure there are also peahens available in the enclosure. This will save your turkey hens from having to mate with peacocks.
Are Peacocks and Turkeys Related?
Both peafowls and turkeys belong to the Phasianidae family of birds, which is a diverse group of heavy-bodied, ground-living birds.
But this family of birds is as large as it is diverse – it includes as many as 185 species divided into 54 genera.
Peacocks and turkeys are different species that are not that closely related, despite their physical similarities.
Can Turkey and Peacocks Breed?
Just because a turkey and a peacock can mate, it doesn’t mean they can also breed an offspring. Turkeys and peacocks cannot breed because they belong to a different genus.
While peacocks are part of the Pavo Linnaeus genus, turkeys are part of the Meleagris Linnaeus genus. Therefore, it’s not possible for them to produce offspring.
Just because a peacock will mate with a turkey hen, it doesn’t mean that any of the eggs of the turkey hen will be viable.
But what about the turkey-peacock hybrid photos you can find on the web? Aren’t those hard proof that these two birds can breed?
No. The images that might suggest there are turkey-peacock hybrids out there are actually something else.
Turkey Peacock Hybrid
So, you’ve probably seen images of turkeys that look like peacocks or supposedly peacocks that look like turkeys.
Although these images suggest there are turkey-peacock hybrids resulting from the union of these two birds, there is no truth to these images. These are most likely images of Ocellated turkeys, and in no case are they turkey peacock hybrids.
What are Ocellated Turkeys?
The Ocellated turkey is a species of turkey that’s native to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. It can also be found in parts of Belize and Guatemala.
What sets this species of turkey apart from other turkeys is just how colorful its plumage is. Not unlike the plumage of peacocks, hence the confusion about whether this species of turkey is a hybrid resulting from the union of a peacock with a turkey.
But it’s not. It’s simply just a colorful turkey species that’s a relative of the North American wild turkey.
It’s a large-bodied bird with a length of 28–48 in (70-122 cm) and a weight of around 6.6.-11 lbs (3-5 kg).
The color of the plumage of both the male and the female Ocellated turkey is a mixture of bronze and green iridescent colors.
While the colors of the plumage do remind us of the iridescent colors of a peacock, it’s the ocelli (eyespots) located on the tail feathers that are eerily similar to the eyespots on a peacock’s train.
The ocellated turkeys feed on a variety of foods that they find by foraging: grass seeds, leaves, nuts, moths, beetles, leafcutter ants, and other insects.
Unfortunately, the Ocellated turkey is classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List and has been so since 2009.
It’s believed that the decline in the Ocellated turkey population is caused by changes in land use, unsustainable harvesting practices and hunting.
Can Peacocks Breed with Other Poultry?
No, peacocks can’t breed with other poultry. Not turkeys, not chickens, nor ducks or geese, or any other poultry.
Peacocks are just too different and their genes don’t match up with any of these poultry, thus, they are unable to produce any offspring.
If you want your peacocks to produce peachicks, you’ll need to have a peahen around. The peacock will mate with the peahen, the pehen’s eggs will be thus fertilized, and the peahen will incubate them.
After an incubation period of 28-30 days, the eggs will hatch. The peahen will take care of the peachicks teaching them to forage and find food.
If you’re disappointed that peacocks and turkeys don’t breed, at least you can enjoy the presence of peachicks instead.
Despite the fact that a peacock will mate a turkey when a peahen is not available, it doesn’t mean that there are turkey peacock hybrids out there.
The images suggesting that these supposed hybrids exist are just simply images of Ocellated turkeys, which are a species of turkey native to the Yucatan peninsula.
But looking at these turkeys closely, you’ll see that the resemblance is just superficial, and in fact Ocellated turkeys simply look like colorful turkeys.
Because peacocks and turkeys are part of a different genus, they’re genetically different and cannot reproduce.
So, despite the appearances, there are no turkey-peacock hybrids.