The peacock has long been revered for its exotic beauty. Here you can find everything you have always wanted to know about them!
In India, it is said that peacocks walk freely and unfettered because they are the revered symbol of Lord Krishna. As a testament to this reverence they have been named the national bird of India, the world's largest democracy. Even outside of India, people worldwide have been captivated by the magnificent and strange beauty of this most exotic member of the Pheasant family.
In all reality, when people talk of peacocks they are only acknowledging the male member of the peafowl species. Females are called peahens, and lack the enormous train of tail feathers that is their male counterparts' claim to fame. As is very common in the animal kingdom, the females are plainly colored and quite a bit smaller.
Peafowl are divided into three main groups: The most common Indian Peafowl, the Green Peafowl, and the White Peafowl. The males of each group use their brilliant tail display, containing exactly 20 large feathers, in their manly gambit for the best mate. The fan or train, as these tail feathers are called, is supported by smaller, shorter tail feathers. The colorful tail feathers do not grow in until the peacock is three years old, and the trains are molted yearly, usually during the summer months.
When a peacock wants a mate, he will display his train and strut by the nearest female, puffing out his chest and shaking his tail feathers as he goes. During mating season, the peafowl are also very vocal, making mewing cries that can sound like a kitten or small child. In India, the mating season coincides with the monsoon season, and so the mewing calls, translated to "minh-ao" by the Indians, has come to mean, literally, "there will be rain."
A peahen usually does not mate until she reaches her third year. She will lay an average of 2-6 eggs at a time, hiding them in the forest while laying decoy eggs out in the open. The eggs hatch after 28 days. The pea chicks are small with yellow and brown markings and resemble young turkey hatchlings.
Peafowl love to roost in trees during the night. A mother peahen will try to get her babies to fly up into the trees as soon as she can after their birth, and she will shelter them with her wings as they sleep. She will find small insects and berries and teach them to eat.
Native to Asia, peafowl can now be found on almost every continent, including Africa, North America and Europe. The birds have been domesticated in many parts of the world, and there is a small but strong group of breeders and trainers worldwide. In the wild, peafowl live in groups and tend to prefer forested areas. They are hardy birds that live an average of 20 years in the wild, and sometimes can exceed 30 years under human care. They are omnivorous, eating grasses and berries as well as small snakes and lizards. In India, they are known for keeping the cobra population under control, as they often eat baby cobras.