Active during the day, the Indian peafowl feeds on the ground, seeking out seeds, fallen fruits, and insects (2) (4). While the majority of its diet comprises plant material and invertebrates, it is known to take small rodents and reptiles on occasion (4). During the night, this species roosts in trees, where there is less danger of predation (2). The Indian peafowl displays highly regular behaviour, often roosting and feeding in the same locations for life, hence the propensity for captive individuals to remain in the vicinity of a single building or garden (4). Despite its large size and, in the males, the lengthy train, the Indian peafowl is remarkably agile, and while it can quickly escape from predators by foot, when pressured it will take to the air (7).
The fan-like spread of the tail coverts, and the frequent shaking of them, exhibited by the male is a spectacular form of courtship display, and can be induced not only by the presence of female Indian peafowl, but also other bird species and even humans (4). The display is not limited to the males, however, as both the female Indian peafowl and chicks are also known to fan their shorter, less colourful tail coverts as well (4). The Indian peafowl breeds from January to March in southern India, and as late as September in other parts of its range (4). During this time, males occupy small, adjacent territories known as leks, where they display to prospective mates (5) (8). The females visit a number of these leks, before selecting the most suitable mate, a decision which is based on the length of the train feathers and the number of eyespots (5) (9). Favoured males may be surrounded by several dominant females which engage in repetitive courtship and mating, possibly as a way of guarding the male from other prospective females. Indeed, the most favoured males are so sought after that, after mating with an inferior male, females will still attempt to court and mate with the prize male (8). The female lays 4 to 6 eggs in a shallow scrape in the ground, or in a tree if predation is intense, which are incubated for 28 to 30 days. After hatching, the chicks are reared for around seven to nine weeks, and are initially fed food from the mother’s bill, but later taught to forage for grubs and insects (5).