Manu Minute: How did the peacock get its tail?
In spite of their lavish appearance, Indian peafowl are actually quite common. Native to India and Sri Lanka, these birds have been introduced throughout the world.
They were brought to Hawaiʻi in the mid-19th century, where they made quite the splash with Princess Kaʻiulani. She adored the birds and kept several at her ʻĀinahau estate. The peafowl shared those gardens with another of the princess's imported favorites: Arabian jasmine. In ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, pīkake is the name for both the fragrant flower and the marvelous bird.
Though these birds often keep company with royalty, they're not particularly picky about where they live or what they eat. They make their home in a variety of habitats around Hawaiʻi, including neighborhoods, parks, and woodlands. Their omnivorous diet includes fruits, grains, insects, and even small vertebrates like lizards and coqui frogs.
Listen to today's Manu Minute to hear more about why peafowl have such extravagant tails!
Audio credit: Peter Boesman/Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (ML283390)