PeacockIndian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)
Peafowl, commonly referred to as peacocks (specific to males, commonly used interchangeably) and peahens (females) include two Asiatic species and one African species of bird in the Phasianidae family. The Indian peafowl is Immature offspring are sometimes called peachicks. Peacocks are large, colorful pheasants, well known for their iridescent tails that spread out in a distinctive train.
HabitatThe peacock’s natural habitat is the forest or rain forest, originating from India, Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and Africa. They roam freely in the wild, taking cover in the trees at night to sleep and avoid predators. A peacock that has access to water, food and shelter will not leave its immediate area.
Size & AppearanceThe Indian peacock has iridescent blue and green plumage marked with eyespots and topped with a crest. Occasionally, peafowl have a complete lack of pigment due to a genetic mutation called leucism. The purpose of the peafowl plumage has been the topic of extensive scientific debate. A long-standing hypothesis by Charles Darwin suggests that they have developed through sexual selection. More recently, Amotz Zahavi proposed the handicap theory that the peacock’s plumage acts as signals of males’ fitness, since less fit males would be disadvantaged by the large and conspicuous structures.
DietPeacocks are omnivore ground feeders that typically dine on insects, leaves and small mammals. Their diets can also include grains, small reptiles, berries, figs and flower parts. A peafowl’s diet largely depends on what part of the world they live in and whether they are wild or domesticated.
- Peafowl have long been admired by humans and kept as pets for thousands of years.
- In Hindu culture, the peacock is the mount of the Lord Kartikeya, the god of war.
- In courtship, vocalization stands to be a primary way for peacocks to attract peahens.
- The Congo peacock was discovered in 1936 after a search began in 1913 with the finding of a single feather.
- A group of peahens is called a harem, while a group of peacocks is a party.
- Peacocks can fly.