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All About Peafowl
Have you heard the story about the peacock? No? Well, it's a beautiful tail...
Whether you're conducting research or you're just feeding your curiosity, this article will teach you eight funky, fun facts about one of nature's most eye-catching birds.
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 consists of three separate species. 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 its exquisite beauty.
2. They Have Unique Habitats
The Indian Peacock lives primarily in South India, including Kashmir, Jammu east Assam, south Mizoram, and the entire Indian peninsula. Peafowl live close to water sources and therefore occupy deciduous forests.
3. Peacocks Are Omnivores
The peacock is omnivorous and a ground feeder. It eats a diet mostly composed of flower petals, seeds, plants, insects, reptiles (yes, they eat snakes!), and amphibians.
4. Their Feathers Have Names
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.
What Is the Thing on Top of a Peacock’s Head Called?
Both the peacock and the peahen have smaller feathers that stick off of their heads like a crown. This collection of feathers is called a crest!
5. Bigger Is 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 exist 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 peacocks 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. In Hinduism, it is seen as a symbol of the god of war, rain, and thunder.
8. Peacocks Are Protected
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 More You Know!
From being India's national bird to eating snakes as snacks, peacocks are notoriously interesting creatures. Do you know anything else about these flashy, feathered fowl? Let us know in the comments below!
Sources and Further Reading
- Global Living: Conservation of the National Bird of India
- Natural Habitat Adventures: Indian Peafowl Facts
- San Diego Zoo's Animal Bytes: Peafowl
- The Guardian: A peacock's tail: How Darwin arrived at his theory of sexual selection
lily on February 06, 2020:
love them so much.want one.
lily on February 06, 2020:
i am doing peacocks on my animal report and i am already loving it.
Izabella❤️ on January 17, 2020:
I love peacocks
April Lynne Moyer on October 23, 2019:
Why do peacocks open there feathers when pirson comes near them and i love peacocks very much and i wish i could have a stuffed animal one and a pet peacock too!★✩♡
Patty on April 27, 2019:
um what is it to you
Um.. on March 26, 2019:
You spelled it "Peackcock" in the title...
Donna James on December 23, 2017:
I would like to copy a peacock image from Pinterest I paint and I am an ameuter painter.
http://4lifestylz.blogspot.com on November 23, 2012:
I love your website i love your articles thank you
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the information was really helpful on November 14, 2012:
this is going to be really helpful for our national indian bird.. if any more info plz update so we can get the info thanks all who have read this comment.......
boss 1956 on April 29, 2012:
this info was awsome i was gonna get a b but i gotta a
priya on January 25, 2012:
Very useful information..Tomorrow it will help for my competition.
Piyali on June 25, 2011:
great info abt these beautiful peacocks... i love their feathers... found quiet useful for my brother's project...!
d.l.p on May 26, 2011:
wow now isnt that something.tomorrow i go to the zoo and ill meet these big guays
Jay Duve on September 12, 2010:
Wow, great info on the Indian peafowl. I think of all the peafowl varieties out there, the Indian peacock is my favorite. They're also relatively easy to raise...
PandaP on December 17, 2009: