It's not that odd of a question; are peacocks mammals, birds, or maybe they are even classified as something else?
I can tell you that peacocks, or peafowl as a species are not mammals, they come under the classification of birds.
To further clarify, peafowl are part of the Phasianidae family of birds, which includes a number of large, ground-living birds.
Classifying animals and all the different types of orders, families, and so on can get a little confusing, so here's everything you need to know about where peacocks and peafowl fit in:
- What Type of Animal Is a Peacock?
- What Is the Class of A Peacock and Peafowl?
- What Order Does Peafowl Belong To?
- What Family Do Peafowl Belong To?
- What Is the Genus of Peafowl?
- Are Peacocks Omnivores?
- Peacocks Are Not Reptiles!
- What Is the Scientific Name for The Peacock?
- What Makes a Mammal a Mammal?
- In Summary
What Type of Animal Is a Peacock?
To explain what peacocks are in simple terms, I first have to explain that peacocks are male peafowl.
Peafowl is a species of bird. Then there are female adults called peahens, and the male adults, which are peacocks.
Peafowl is a species of bird. There are a few characteristics that make birds different from other animals, some of which are the fact that:
- They breathe air
- They have two legs
- They have two wings
- They are warm-blooded
- They lay eggs
- They have feathers
There are some more nuances, but if an animal checks off all of these boxes, there is a very good chance it's a bird.
Related - A look at a peacock vs a peafowl and how they're different.
What Is the Class of A Peacock and Peafowl?
The animal kingdom is split up into a number of different classifications or groups.
This is a system that was developed by a Swedish botanist called Carl Linnaeus, and is sometimes referred to as the Linnaeus Method or Linnaean Taxonomy.
There are a number of classifications for animals because so many animals share features, so it helps to group them based on their features.
One of the classifications is 'class', which is near the top level and is split into 7 groups.
This is where animals are classed as mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and three types of fish.
So, the class a peacock belongs to is birds, which are also called aves.
What Order Does Peafowl Belong To?
The next classification is the Order, and the order that peafowl belongs to is called Galliformes.
Galliformes is an order of birds of largely terrestrial habits, they have large bodies, legs adapted for running, short wings, and scratch around for most of their food.
Sounds a lot like peacocks, doesn't it?!
Within the order of Galliformes, we also have chickens, Guinea fowls, turkeys, quails, and some other birds I bet you're familiar with.
What Family Do Peafowl Belong To?
Underneath Order comes the Family classification. The family peafowl belongs to is called the Phasianidae.
Phasianidae is a large family of gallinaceous birds including pheasants, the Asiatic, jungle fowls, domestic fowls, turkeys, guinea fowls, and sometimes some other birds you may have heard of.
What Is the Genus of Peafowl?
Genus is a taxonomic category ranking used in biological classification that is below family and above species for animals that have closely related features.
The Genus that peafowl belongs to is called Pavo.
Within the Pavo, there is the Indian Blue Peafowl and the rarer Green Peafowl.
Are Peacocks Omnivores?
Peacocks are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals.
The diet of peafowl in the wild typically includes various insects, small lizards, snakes, rodents, fruits, and vegetables.
One of the most interesting things about the diet of a peacock is that it's said they can eat poison ivy and other poisonous plants without being affected by the toxins.
They are also known for catching venomous creatures like cobras without being bitten and infected.
This is the basis of why peacocks symbolize purity, immortality, and transformation in history.
Peacocks Are Not Reptiles!
I know I'm interested in peafowl and know a lot about them, but I still find it surprising how many people I see asking if peacocks are reptiles.
Peacocks are not reptiles, they are birds.
As I've already explained, there are a number of characteristics that make birds different from other animals, and reptiles are not one of those groups.
Reptiles include crocodiles, alligators, lizards, snakes, turtles, and tortoises. None of which have feathers, and all of which are cold-blooded.
What Is the Scientific Name for The Peacock?
The scientific name for the peacock is Pavo cristatus.
The word 'cristatus' comes from the Latin word 'crista', meaning crest or plume.
This is in reference to the peacock's distinctive crest of feathers on its head.
Related - Here is a closer look at that crest of feathers on a peacock's head!
What Makes a Mammal a Mammal?
You now know that peafowls are not mammals, if you're wondering what characteristics make a mammal a mammal, I can explain.
Mammals are a class of vertebrate animals, which means they have a backbone.
They are also warm-blooded, meaning they can maintain a constant body temperature regardless of the temperature of their environment.
All mammals have fur or hair at some point in their lives (even if it's just when they're babies), and produce milk to feed their young.
That's another thing you'll notice about birds, they don't produce milk for their young. They pick up little bugs and other scraps and feed those to their chicks.
So, to answer the question, are peacocks mammals? No, they are not.
Peacocks are birds, and more specifically, they belong to the Galliformes Order and Phasianidae family.