Peafowl (Pavocristatus) is a bright colored bird admired by humans for several years. Among several species, the Indian peafowl or the blue peacock is the popular one which is available in the regions of India and Sri Lanka. The green peacock lives in Myanmar and Java and the Congo peacock is found in the African rain forest. Peacock is the national bird of India and is celebrated in Greek and Hindu mythology. In the year 1963, the peacock was declared the national bird of India.
We usually get confused between peafowl and peacock. Actually, the peacock is the male and peahen in the female bird. They both together are known as peafowl. We usually see and admire peacocks in the zoo so we are very less aware of peahens and the term peafowl.
The peacock is usually admired because of its beauty. Its wire-like spatula-tipped feathers that have got fan-like crest is extremely magnificent to see. The colorful eyespots at the upper tail enhance the beauty of these birds.
Difference between peacock and peahen
The peacock is usually blue in color and has got wire-like spatula-tipped feathers with fan-like crest. Although less they are capable of flight. Peahen, on the contrary, are not capable to fly. They have a dull brown plumage with lower neck greenish in color.
Peafowl- where and how to detect?
Indian peafowl loves to dodge on ground, open forest, or cultivated land. They forage for food, grains, and berries on cultivated land. They prey lizard, snake and other small rodents on forests and open grounds, usually in small groups.
During danger, they prefer to escape on foot rather than flying. Although they can fly high into tall trees, they mostly prefer to move on grounds, in groups and forage for foods. They can easily be detected by their loud calls. They can easily make you aware of predators like lions in forests by their voice.
The function of the elaborate plumage in peacock
There has been a lot of debates about the peacock’s long train of plumage. About 150 years ago in the 19th Century, Charles Darwin wrote about the colorful beauty of the peacock’s tail. As per his theory, it’s the way of sexual selection in male.
Although as per Victorian thinking the elaborate train on peacock’s feather is the God’s creation of aesthetic sense in animals. The natural selection in peacocks is widely accepted world wise although there have been several mechanisms involved in this regard.
As per the recent study, when peacocks quiver their ornamented train of feathers produces infrasonic sound to attract peahens during mating season. This sound is a low-frequency sound which is inaudible to human ears.
Some interesting facts about peafowls
Only males are peacock: As we’ve already discussed male peafowls are actually peacock. Females are known as peahens and baby peafowls are known as peachicks.
Collection of peafowls are known as a “Bevy”: They are even called ostentation, a party or a muster.
Peafowls aren’t born with ornamental showy trains: The fancy trains of peachicks start showing after the age of three. Moreover, sex determination of peachicks become quite difficult until 6 months of age. After that male peafowls begin to change color.
Peacocks shed their feathers every year: Luckily for collecting feathers of peacocks, they’re not required to be killed. They shed their trains after the mating season every year. These feathers can be collected and sold.
Peafowls have a shorter life span in forests: Peafowls prefer to spend their lives in forests with other members. They’re extremely social and like to hover around with a group of other peafowls. They don’t like to be tamed. But if they’re tamed they can survive up to 50 years. Whereas in forests they survive till 20 years due to more life risks over there.
Despite their enormous trains, they can fly: The length of a peacock’s train is almost six feet which is 60% of their body length. But this proportion has never caused a problem in their flight. They can fly very easily, although not too far.
The brilliant fluorescent color on trains are due to tiny crystal-like structures: Some microscopic crystal-like structures on their feathers make them look so brilliant. Those crystals reflect lights of different wavelength, resulting in bright colors. The similar visual effects can be seen on the wings of shimmering butterflies and hummingbirds.