Male peafowl are called “peacocks,” while females are referred to as “peahens.”Peafowl belong to the pheasant family, and the Congo peafowl is the only true pheasant native to Africa. First described in 1936, very little is known about the behavior of this rare and secretive species in the wild. The Zoo’s Congo peafowl are cared for in a behind-the-scenes habitat at the Avian Conservation Center.

Early Life

The female incubates the eggs for about 28 days while the male stands guard nearby. The babies hatch in a well-developed state. Both parents help to feed and raise the chicks, but the young are able to run and forage for food on their own within a few days of hatching.


Listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Congo peafowl’s habitat is threatened by human activities such as mining, logging, and agriculture. Hunting also poses a significant threat to this species.


The Congo peafowl is found only in the lowland rainforests of the Congo River basin in central Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Fruit, seeds, and small invertebrates.


Male and female Congo peafowl are both about the size of a domestic chicken, but are colored quite differently. The male has a soft, velvety black crown with an erect crest about four inches high made of bristly white feathers. His body is covered with bluish-black feathers tinged with metallic green and purple. His gray face and red throat are bare. Unlike the better-known common peacock, the Congo peacock’s tail is short and lacks ocelli (“eyespots”). The Congo peahen has a bright chestnut breast and under arts, with a bright green iridescent back. Her head is covered with light brown feathers and sports a short, reddish-brown stand-up crest. Both males and females have gray legs, usually with long spurs.