Peacocks are amazing birds! When the the males strut their stuff, their tail feathers fan out into brilliant, iridescent colors of blues and greens that shine and shimmer in the sunlight. This is caused by microscopic structures on their feathers that appear like crystals. A peacock’s 6-foot train encompasses 60% of its body and is covered with eyelets that are blue, red, gold and other hues. Actually, when a peacock shakes his feathers to attract a female, he emits a low-frequency sound that humans are unable to hear; this is called an “infrasonic sound”. Specifically, peacocks are the male birds, peahens are the females, and babies are peachicks; a bevy or harem is a group of peafowl. However, most of the time, people refer to peafowl, in general, as peacocks.
There are only 3 species of peafowl: the Blue Peacock from India and Sri Lanka, Green Peacock from Java and Burma, and the lesser known-peacock from the Congo. However, there is a white peafowl, not albino, but a color variation due to a genetic trait known as “leucism”. The bird is born yellow, and its skin and feathers gradually turn white, but its eyes will not be pink or reddish in color.
The Peacock is India’s national bird. These impressive fowl are considered sacred to the Hindu religion. The “eyes” on the train of the peacock are considered to be the eyes of the gods. The bird also symbolizes “knowledge,” “benevolence,” and “compassion”. These fowl are omnnivorous and are known for their unique ability to eat poisonous snakes, and are, therefore, valuable assets to people who live in areas where there are numerous reptiles.
In the wild, peafowl can be expected to live approximately 10-20 years; however, domesticated birds have been known to live up to 50 years. Peafowl are polygamous. Peahens are very clever in that they will lay unfertilized eggs away from their nest as a decoy for predators. A clutch of eggs is from 3-6 eggs. Peachicks reach sexual maturity at 3 years of age at which time the male chicks will grow their trains.
Lastly, are these birds endangered? The Blue Indian Peacocks are protected and secure at this time. However due to overhunting, the Green and Congo species are endangered. Let’s do our part to preserve these beautiful, breathtaking birds!
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