Sentosa uses mirrors and warning signs to prevent peacocks from attacking visitors, cars

SINGAPORE – Peafowl draw attention with their plumage but they can turn aggressive when their feathers are ruffled, so warning signs have been put up on Sentosa.

The island, which is home to more than 60 peafowl, comprising male peacocks and female peahens, also has mirrors in carparks to keep the birds away from vehicles.

Sentosa is believed to house the largest peafowl population in a single location here. The birds made headlines when a three-year-old girl was attacked by a pet peacock in Serangoon Garden on Sunday (Nov 28).

A spokesman for Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) told The Straits Times on Friday (Dec 3) that the island welcomed its first pair of peafowl in the 1980s “as part of earlier efforts to enrich Sentosa’s flora, fauna and rustic charm”.

The island’s peafowl are free-roaming, can fly to a considerable height and enjoy roosting in trees.

They require large spaces to move around due to their long tails, and roaming freely enables them to forage for food such as grasshoppers, seeds, worms and flowers, said the spokesman.

She added that peafowl are territorial animals known to be attracted to shiny and reflective surfaces. Videos online have shown them attacking their own reflection on vehicles, causing damage through their pecking and scratching.

According to the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services Department, peafowl make much more noise during the mating season, which begins in early spring and lasts through summer in places with temperate climates. They can be more aggressive and territorial during this time.

The SDC spokesman said: “Signs have thus been put up around the island to advise guests on such behavioural traits, while mirrors have also been strategically placed around most carparks in Sentosa to divert peafowl away from vehicles.”

The shiny surfaces of the mirrors act to attract peafowl.

The installation of signs and mirrors was done years in advance of Sunday’s attack.

Signs also advise guests not to feed wildlife, so as not to alter their foraging behaviour.

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