Unlike the familiar sight of the Indian peacock, with its long tail feathers and iconic fan display, the Congo peafowl are less well known. They’re part of the same family, though, and they’re native to the Central Democratic Republic of the Congo and are considered vulnerable due to their declining population.

Not much is known about the breed, having only been recognized as a species in 1936. We put together this guide to introduce you to the Congo peafowl and explain why they’re just as interesting as their more extravagant cousins.

new peacock divider Quick Facts About Congo Peafowl

Breed Name:Congo Peafowl (Afropavo congensis)
Place of Origin:The Central Democratic Republic of the Congo
Uses:Preservation
Peacock (Male) Size:3.31 pounds; 28 inches long
Peahen (Female) Size:2.64 pounds; generally slightly smaller than the males
Color:Males: Deep blue, metallic green, and violet with a red neck

Females: Chestnut or brown, black and metallic green

Lifespan:15–20 years
Climate Tolerance:Rainforests
Care Level:Low
Egg Production:2–4
Egg Color:Dark brown
Conservation Status:Vulnerable (IUCN)

Congo Peafowl Origins

Due to their similar appearance to immature Asian Peafowl — the Blue Peafowl and the Green Peafowl, in particular — the Congo Peafowl were often mistaken for those breeds. They weren’t recognized as a separate species until the year 1936.

After studying two stuffed Congo Peafowl in the Congo Museum in Belgium, Dr. James Chapin declared them a new species.

Green Peafowl side view closeup
Image Credit: Pixabay

Congo Peafowl Characteristics

As part of the Phasianidae family, Congo peafowl share many characteristics with pheasants, partridges, turkeys, and grouse. Along with their similarity to Asian peafowl — although they’re smaller and less impressive — Congo peafowl also share characteristics with guinea fowl. They’re the only species in the Afropavo genus and are the only true pheasants native to Africa.

During the breeding season, Congo peacocks spread their tail and wing feathers. It’s a similar display to that of common Indian peacocks, but they have shorter tail feathers and lack the distinguished ocelli or eyespots. To draw in a mate, a male Congo peacock struts, bows, and even offers the peahen food to prove his ability to take care of her.

The species is monogamous. After the female lays two to four dark brown eggs in a hollow in the ground and incubates them for 28 days, the male stands guard and then helps raise the young once they hatch.

Fruits, seeds, and invertebrates — earthworms, larvae, millipedes, spiders, and snails, among others — make up the majority of the Congo peafowl’s diet. The simplicity of their diet makes them easy to care for, and their young start foraging a few days after hatching.

Congo Peafowl Uses

The Congo peafowl are among the more common peafowl breeds used on farms for both meat production and their eggs (since they’re bigger than chicken eggs).

Their vulnerable conservation status means measures are also being taken to preserve the species. You can find the species in zoos and their native homeland in the Congo River Basin.

Congo Peafowl Appearance & Varieties

Like most other birds, the Congo peafowl have a great deal of variation between the sexes, along with the usual size difference.

Males have vibrant colors. They’re deep blue, tinged with shades of metallic green and violet. Along with a patch of bare, red skin on their necks, they have thin white feathers standing on their crown. Although they can fan their tail feathers, their tails are much shorter than some other peacock breeds.

In comparison, the Congo peahen is more basic in color. Their feathers are chestnut or brown, and their black abdomen is flecked with the same metallic green as the males. Instead of the white feathers on the male’s head, the peahen has a chestnut-colored crest.

Green Peafowl side view
Image Credit: Pixabay

Population, Distribution, & Habitat

Although these birds are often found in zoos and on farms, the majority of their declining population is mostly located in the Congo River Basin in the Central Democratic Republic of the Congo. The natural habitat of the Congo peafowl is lowland rainforests.

Despite preservation efforts, the population of the Congo peafowl is steadily declining due to human interference, such as mining, hunting, deforestation, and agriculture. Their continuing decline has led to their addition to the IUCN’s red list. They’re classified as vulnerable, with their population being between 2,500 and 9,999.

new peacock divider Is the Congo Peafowl Good for Small-Scale Farming?

In general, peafowl make good farm animals for various reasons. Their eggs are larger than those of chickens, with a gamier texture and flavor, and their meat is more aromatic. With their bright feathers and vibrant displays during the breeding season, they also make visually appealing additions to your farm.

Congo peafowl are no different, despite their vulnerable IUCN red list status and preference for hot, humid climates. Along with Indian Blue peafowl and Green peafowl, the Congo peafowl are among the more popular breeds found on farms.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay