Indian Peafowl

Indian Peafowl

Birds

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: Indian peafowl, common peafowl
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Aves
ORDER: Galliformes
FAMILY: Phasianidae
GENUS SPECIES: Pavo (peacock) cristatus (crested)

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION:  
MALE The cock has a fan-shaped crest, a metallic blue head, and a bright blue neck and upper body. The tail has long, ornamental feathers (not true tail feathers but elongated upper tail coverts) with black eye-spots on the rounded tips.
FEMALE The hen has a chestnut-brown crest and neck with feathers bordered in bronze and green.
SIZE:  
MALE Total body length is approximately 2.3 meters (7.5 ft.); the train is 1.4-1.6 m (4.62-5.28 feet) long and accounts for more than 60% of total body length
FEMALE Females are smaller than males
WEIGHT: Approximately 2.75-4.0 kg (6.05-8.8 lb)
DIET: Includes grains, insects, small reptiles, small mammals, berries, drupes, wild figs, and some cultivated crops
INCUBATION: Approximately 28 days
CLUTCH SIZE 3-12 eggs
SEXUAL MATURITY: Approximately 2-3 years
LIFE SPAN: Approximately 20-24 years
RANGE: Eastern Pakistan through India, south from the Himalayas to Sri Lanka
HABITAT: Inhabits open forests, stream-side forests, orchards, and other cultivated areas
POPULATION: GLOBAL Unknown
STATUS: IUCN Not listed
CITES Not listed
USFWS Not listed

FUN FACTS

1. In 1963, the peafowl was declared the national bird of India because of its rich religious and legendary involvement in Indian traditions.
2. Hindus consider this bird to be sacred because the god Kartikeya rides on its back. Legend also says the peafowl is able to charm snakes and addle their eggs!
3. In Greek mythology, the peacock's ornate train became a famous tail! The goddess Hera had a faithful servant named Argus. He had numerous eyes all over his body. When Hermes killed her watchful servant, Hera took Argus's eyes and placed them on the tail of the peacock to honor his memory.
4. Males are called peacocks, females are peahens, and young are known as peachicks.
5. This bird is one of the most recognizable birds in the world!
6. Male Indian peafowl are polygamous, mating with many females during a breeding season. The males establish breeding territories known as a lek. When time to breed, female wander through many male's territories, sometimes making repeated visits, before selecting a male. The males do not help to raise the young.

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

Although peafowl were once common in Bangladesh, now they may be extinct in that country. Because of its appearance, this bird was taken worldwide! Early seafarers decided to bring the peafowl to their homelands in other parts of the western world. This method seems to have saved the bird from complete extinction. Traders in the year 1000 B.C. introduced the birds to present-day Syria and the Egyptian pharaohs. Alexander the Great imported more of the birds into his Mediterranean domains and severely penalized anyone caught harming them. Peafowl were a status symbol through Roman times and the Middle Ages, ensuring their establishment and survival throughout Europe. Fortunately, such a long and close association with humans has given peafowls an excellent chance of survival.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Delacour, J. The Pheasants of the World. 2nd ed. World Pheasant Association and Spur Publications, Hindhead, U.K.  1977.

Gotch, A.F. Birds - Their Latin Names Explained. Poole, Dorst: Blandford Press, 1981.

Perrins, Dr. Christopher M. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Birds: The Definitive Reference to Birds of the World. New York: Prentice Hall Press. 1990.

denverzoo.org/animalsplants/birds/birds_others/Indian_Peafowl/indian_peafowl.htm

natzoo.si.edu/zooview/exhibits/birdhs/peafowl.htm