Are Peacocks Aggressive? [A Beautiful Bird With a Big Attitude]

are peacocks aggressive

There’s no doubt that Peacocks are among some of the world’s most mesmerizing birds. With a plumage display incomparable to most, these elegant-looking birds may surprise you with their temperamental behavior.

Peacocks are a delight to have around as they add an astounding visual aspect, but they have been known to become aggressive and attack when provoked.

Peafowl are temperamental and will turn to aggression when feeling threatened or when their territory has been invaded.

Let’s take a look at what sets these magnificent birds off, and what you can do to avoid any potential injuries.

Are Peacocks Aggressive?

Peacocks are large birds that can reach over 2 meters tall. If this size isn’t intimidating enough, they come equipped with razor-sharp talons and the ability to fly.

aggressive peacocks

Mix these dangerous physical traits with the bird’s low intelligence and some territorial tendency, and you have yourself an aggressive bird that is best stayed away from.

Although a peacock won’t hunt you down, they are known to be, similar to geese, incredibly aggressive, particularly during mating season.

Why Do Peacocks Attack?

As we can’t enter a bird’s mind, it’s impossible to know exactly why each attack happens.

That said, by observing repetitive behavior, it’s clear that in the following situations, Peacocks are known to become aggressive.

When Feeling Threatened

As with most animals, when a peacock feels threatened, it is likely to turn to aggression as a defense mechanism.

If you corner a peacock or continually pursue one, it may see you as a predator and feel there is no alternative but to fight you off.

This can turn a seemingly calm bird into an aggressive nightmare in an instant.

When You Enter A Peacocks Territory

Peacocks, just like hummingbirds, are incredibly territorial and do not fare well with other animals disturbing their domain.

Although these birds will show more aggression to rival peacocks, if you enter a peacock’s territory too quickly or in an aggressive manner, the bird could quickly turn on you.

During Mating Season

Mating season is the time for male peacocks to display their well-groomed feathers and attack the perfect mate.

peacocks during mate season

During this time hormones are high and competition from competing males is even higher.

Male peacocks can become even more aggressive throughout these times as they see anything as a threat to the potential expansion of their bloodline.

These birds become so aggressive that they have been known to attack their own reflections in dark-colored cars.

If you see a peacock displaying its plumage, there’s a good chance it’s mating season, and a great idea to keep your distance.

When Protecting Eggs

To a mother, their young are everything, and for altricial species (those that raise their young) the bond between mother and youngling is unbreakable.

peacocks protect eggs

When it comes to peacocks, they will protect their nests and newly laid eggs with their lives.

If there is a nesting peacock in the area you should ensure that you keep your distance.

Female peacocks, or peahens, will attack anything they feel threatens their nest, including other male peacocks that wander too close.

As A Means Of Communication

Peacocks cannot speak, which means they need an alternative means of communication.

Although this isn’t a concern in the wild (although wild birds tend to be more aggressive) when in captivity, tame peafowls have been known to nip their owners in demand for food.

Similarly, peafowl have been recorded biting individuals that are attempting to feed them.

This could be due to either impatience or the bird’s food-demanding nature.

How To Tell If A Peacock Is Becoming Aggressive

If a peacock begins showing signs of aggression, it’s a good time to begin backing up and removing yourself from the situation.

How To Tell If A Peacock Is Becoming Aggressive

A few ways you can tell a peafowl is becoming aggressive include:

  • The peacock begins to move towards you or begins tilting its head
  • When looking at you and strutting its feathers
  • Peacocks often make a low growling noise when feeling threatened
  • In close proximity, a peacock may charge or jump at you, attempting to deter you with their talons

What to Do When A Peacock Attacks?

It’s always better to avoid trouble than to deal with it, but sometimes luck just isn’t in our favor.

Peacocks, unlike predatory birds such as eagles and hawks, don’t attack without warning. These large fowl will puff up spreading their tail feathers and squawk, multiple times before attacking.

If you find yourself in this scenario, your best course of action would be to take evasive action by:

  • Slowly backing up while keeping your body relaxed and moving at a steady pace
  • Avoiding eye contact with the bird
  • Placing a shield-like object around yourself, such as a jacket or blanket (or anything else available that can create a barrier
  • Putting yourself behind a fence or tree to block off the bird’s path

If your evasive maneuvers have failed you, and the bird begins to attack, you should ensure to:

  • Protect your most vulnerable areas such as your eyes, and face. This can be done with your hands or any other object around, such as a jacket
  • Remove yourself from the protected area. Peacocks will attack multiple times, and may not stop until you are out of their territory. As hard as it is, you need to keep on moving
  • Seek medical attention. If you have been scratched or bitten by a peacock, you should seek medical care. These birds could leave deep lacerations or carry diseases

How to Keep A Peacock Calm

Peacocks that are domesticated, such as those kept on holdings, farms, or zoos behave differently from those in the wild and are often a lot less temperamental.

This means that dealing with a wild peacock is slightly different, as you aren’t in control of many factors.

If you encounter a wild peacock, it’s best to stay clear and avoid entering its territory at all costs. You should simply assume that the peacock is aggressive, and observe its beauty from a safe distance.

As you can control a domesticated peafowls environment (to an extent) you should ensure the following in order to keep your birds happy:

  • Provide the peacocks with ample space to roam. These are large birds and they need a lot of room to feel comfortable. Keeping the bird in tight quarters could make it anxious and aggressive
  • Ensure there are no predators or large and intimidating animals in the immediate area
  • Ensure your peafowl are well fed and have plenty of clean water available. These birds become temperamental when they are hungry


Do Peacocks Make Good Pets?

Although beautiful, due to their aggressive temperaments, peacocks do not make good pets, unless they have ample roaming space, such as on a farm.

Can Peacocks Kill a Human?

As peacocks will continue to attack you with their large claws and sharp beaks, until you remove yourself from their territory, they are capable of doing significant damage. 

Although this doesn’t often end in death, it is possible, as seen in Thailand where a peacock led to a man’s death.

Are Peacocks Friendly?

Although they are beautiful, which can give the impression that they are friendly, peacocks are in fact extremely temperamental.

When it comes to food, territory, or their young, peacocks will not hesitate to attack.

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