The Proud Peackcock: Eight Fun Facts on the Indian Peacock
1. Peacocks are Really Called Peafowls: The term peacock refers to only the male peafowl while the female peafowl is called a peahen and the baby peafowl is called a peachick. A group of peafowls is called a pride or a party. The peafowl is part of the pheasant family and there are three species of peafowl. The most popular of the species is the Indian peafowl and it is the version that is found in most zoos around the world due to it's exquisite beauty.
2. The Indian Peacock’s Habitat: The Indian Peacock lives primarily south to east of the Indus River including Kashmir, Jammu east Assam, south Mizoram, and the entire Indian peninsula. The peafowl will live close to water sources and therefore mostly in the wild and in jungle habitats.
3. The Indian Peacock’s Diet: The peacock is omnivorous and a ground feeder. It will stick to a diet mostly composed of flower petals, seeds, plants, insects, reptiles and amphibians.
4. The Plumes of a Peacock: The Indian peacock is the most popular of the peafowl family because of its intricate plumes and vibrant coloring. The peacock’s head is a shining, bright blue color. The head is surrounded by the peacock’s plumage, which is composed of extended tail coverts. The feathers are patterned with eyespots, which feature circular spots made up of blue, green, gold and red feathers. Conversely, the peahen is a plain grayish brown color, which allows her to easily blend into her environment to avoid predators and also to protect her eggs. Both the peacock and the peahen have a crest atop of their heads that is reminiscent of a crown.
5. The Bigger the Better: Why does the peacock have these magnificent plumes in the first place? The reason for such splendor is to impress the peahens. The peacock will use the plumage in mating rituals by spreading out the train so that it extends around its entire body. This superb train accounts for more than half of the peacock’s total size and contains more than 200 feathers. When extended, the train makes the peacock one of the largest flying birds that exists today. It is believed that a peahen will pick a peacock based on the size and coloring of its plumage. Additionally, it has also been shown that the offspring of peacock with higher quality plumage are larger at birth and grow to be healthier birds, proving that a bigger peacock really is better after all.
6. Peahens Make Good Mothers: The peacock will have several mates, who will each lay between three and six eggs that incubate for approximately 28 days. The eggs are ivory colored and triple the size of a regular chicken egg. During the incubation period, the mother will only leave the nest once per day to find food and water and when she returns she will make lots of noise to distract possible predators. She also will show the peachicks how to look for food by pointing at tiny morsels and making clacking sounds.
7. The Peacock is India’s National Bird: The Indian Peacock is the national bird of India and is known as the “Mylapore”. It is considered so sacred because its train features eyespots that are interpreted as “eyes of the gods”. The peacock also exhibits qualities of splendor, pride, charm and holiness. It can be found in many Indian illustrations along with prominent gods and goddesses and in Hinduism it is seen as a symbol of the god of war, rains and thunder.
8. Protecting the Peacock: Previously, the Indian Peacock was extensively hunted for its beautiful feathers and was also bred for food. However, in 1972 the peacock was put under the Indian Wildlife Act and is now fully protected by the Indian parliament. However, poaching still threatens the peacock today as well as environmental degradation – heavy pesticides commonly destroy the peacocks food sources and habitat in India. Peacocks do very well in captivity and that’s why you will commonly see them in lots of zoos.
The Deity Peacock
Peacock and Animal Links
- San Diego Zoo\'s Animal Bytes: Peafowl
Get accurate information in an easy-to-read style about peafowl from the San Diego Zoo's Animal Bytes. Buy tickets online and plan a visit to the Zoo or Wild Animal Park. Enjoy games, animal cams and videos, and online shopping.