Peafowl bird<<<< Back to birds
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Galliformes
- Family: Phasianidae
- Genus: Phasianinae
- Conservation status: Not evaluated
- Food: Grains, Seeds, Insects
- Habitat: Desert and savanna areas
- Predators: Dogs, Raccoon, Tiger, Wild cats
- Wing span: 120cm - 300cm (47in - 118in)
- Speed: 20km/h (12mph)
- Weight: 3kg - 6kg (6lbs - 13lbs)
- Lifespan: 10 - 20 years
- Clutch size: 5 - 6 Eggs
The peacock is a bird from the pheasant family (Phasianidae), Galliformes order. The peacock can be considered a decorative bird, the male has a special look when the tail is open fan-shaped.
In the wild, peacocks populate the lands of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, where they live in large flocks, preferring hilly areas and clearings near the water in rain forests.
Currently they live also as domestic birds across the globe. It can be seen also in parks, because it is a sedentary bird who usually doesn’t leave its spot.
The term peacock is properly reserved for the male; the female is known as a peahen, and the immature offspring are sometimes called peachicks.
Peacocks are omnivorous and their diet includes: plants, ants, seeds, grasshoppers, termites, ticks, flower petals. Also they can feed on reptiles, amphibians and arthropods. Birds go in search of food early morning and in the evening during twilight, their food can be young snakes. It is a highly treasured bird in India, because it also eats young cobras.
A peacock's tail contains over 200 feathers, each decorated with some eye resembling spots. The male Indian peacock has some blue and green spots, on the head, neck and chest. The 'train' consists of brown and green feathers, marked with eyespots, visible when the peacock fans its tail. These feathers are in fact extensions, not primary feathers. The feathers that make up the real tail are short, gray, and can be seen from the back when the 'train' is opened.
Peacocks display their train when they want to get a female’s attention, for mating. During the moulting season, the train is thinning, and then the tail made of short and gray feathers can be seen best. The female peacock doesn’t have feathers in bright colors like the male, she has a trivial look, as in many species of birds. The female feathers are brown, the belly ones are a little lighter, and the neck has a iridescent green part. Also it misses the 'train' that the male has. Both females and males have crests on top of the head.
The green peacock male has green and gold feathers and the wings are black with a flash of blue. Unlike the Indian peacock, the green peacock female resembles pretty much the male, the train has shorter feathers and the color on the body is less iridescent. In the months when the male sheds, it is quite difficult to distinguish male from female.
A peacock can measure up to 2.3 meters in length, the female is smaller measuring only 86 centimeters. A peacock’s train can measure 1.2-1.5 meters. The male weighs between 4 and 5.8kg, and the female weighs between 2.7 and 4kg. Both female and male have some metatarsal spurs, used as defenceagainst predators. The peacock has strong legs, each leg with 4 fingers, including three directed forward and one facing backwards. Because their wings are smaller compared to the rest of the body, peacocks are not capable of long flights.
- The Indian peafowl or blue peafowl (Pavo cristatus)
- The green peafowl (Pavo muticus)
- The Congo peafowl (Afropavo congensis)
A peacock is a classic example of natural selection based on physical appearance, because females prefer to mate only with the most handsome males, that have the most 'eyes' on the train. It looks like the hatchlings coming from the mentioned above males are the largest, wealthiest and with the best chances at surviving.
To woo females, the peacock opens its train and shakes its feathers in front of them. He will walk backwards to the female who seems receptive, then suddenly will turn around to show her his magnificent train, then take a few steps back and lean towards her. After that the make will make some rooster-like sounds, only much stronger. If he manages to impress the female, she will join his harem, the peacock is polygamous, like most birds with impressive plumage.
The males play no part in rearing the hatchlings, the female is the only one dealing with them. The female reaches sexual maturity at the age of 2 years and males at the age of 3 years. The female lays between 6 and 12 brown eggs, from April to September. She lays its eggs in a nest located on the ground and lined with grass. The female hatches the eggs for 28 days.
At birth, the hatchlings have about 100 grams and are covered with feathers. They can fly a few weeks after birth. They learn early to fly so they can be able to go up in trees with their mother, where they are safe from predators. The female then instructs them to feed and make sounds. Peacocks develop their train only from the age of 3 years, when they also reach sexual maturity. A peacock can live between 40 and 50 years. The peacock is in danger of extinction due to human hunting and intensive habitat destruction.
Did you know that:
Peacocks are omnivorous
A peacock’s tail contains over 200 feathers
Peacocks display their train when they want to get a female's attention.
Both female and male have some metatarsal spurs, used as defenceagainst predators.