Peafowls

     The Peafowl is a member of the Pheasant family which is considered to be one of the most beautiful birds on planet Earth. This bird clan includes two Asiatic species (the Blue/Indian Peafowl originally of India and Sri Lanka and the Green Peafowl of Myanmar, Indochina, and Java) and one African species (the Congo Peafowl native only to the Congo Basin).

     There are also more than a dozen subspecies which are actually a part of the pheasant clan and 185 recognized color varieties for domesticated peafowls that resulted from applying selective breeding. The White Peafowl, the Black-Shouldered Peafowl and the Indian Pied Peafowl are examples of the color mutations that appear in the Indian Peafowl species.

     The term Peacock is properly reserved for the male; the female is known as a Peahen, and the immature offspring are called Peachicks. The peacock has some of the brightest feathers and one of the most impressive courting displays of any bird in the world. Its most distinguishing characteristic is the extravagant eye-spotted tail covert feathers which called the “train” that he displays as part of courtship rituals. The Congo Peacock does not display his covert feathers, but uses his actual tail feathers during courtship displays. These feathers are much shorter than those of the Indian and the Green species, and the ocelli are much less pronounced.

     Peafowls follow a certain routine every day. They roost overnight in large groups in tall, open trees. That way, they are safe from predators during the night. In the morning, they break up into small groups to start foraging for food. In the non-breeding season, these are usually groups of all peacocks or all peahens; but during the breeding season, there are harem groups of one peacock and several peahens. Peafowls usually forage on the ground each day for grain, insects, small reptiles and mammals, berries, figs, leaves, seeds, and flower parts. The peahen usually lays 3-8 eggs and does the incubation for 26-30 days. It takes the peacock almost 5 to 6 years to develop its train with maximum splendor but Peafowls usually reach sexual maturity at the age of 2-3 years.

     It may seem that having such a long train and bright feathers would slow a peacock down and make him an easy target for predators like Mongooses, Jungle Cats, stray Dogs, Leopards, and Tigers—and this is absolutely true! However, if a predator grabs the train, the long feathers pull out easily, and the peacock can fly away. Peafowls are highly ornamental birds that are raised mainly for this purpose and most people are familiar with the Indian Peafowl, since that is the kind found in many zoos and parks around the world.

 

Indian Peafowls
Indian Peafowls by Josh More
The White Peacock
The White Peacock
The Indian Blue Pied Peacock
The Indian Blue Pied Peacock
The Congo Peacock
The Congo Peacock by belgianchocolate

 

Breeds