The peacock is something of total magnificence.
- Peacocks are spectacularly dressed birds, and depending on the species, are native to India, Sri Lanka and other parts of Asia, including Myanmar and Java, as well as Congo in Africa, though some of have been introduced into other countries around the world.
- The common name ‘peacock’, technically refers to the male bird, with the term ‘peahen’ reserved for females, while ‘peafowl’ is the general name of the bird; and the birds can have a lifespan of 20 to 25 years in the wild.
- There are three extant species of peacock and they have the scientific names Pavo cristatus – the blue or Indian peafowl, Pavo muticus – the green peafowl, and Afropavo congensis – the Congo peafowl; and both the Pavo and Afropavo genera are from the family Phasianidae, the family of pheasants, chickens and quails.
- The magnificent feather train of male peacocks is able to be fanned out in display, to attract females and compete with other males.
- Peacocks range in length from 0.86 to 3 metres (2.8 to 9.8 feet), which includes the train on the males that can be at least 60% of the length of the bird; and they usually have a wingspan of 1.4 to 1.6 metres (4.6 to 5.2 feet) in width, and a weight ranging from 2.7 to 6 kilograms (6 to 13.2 pounds)
- Peacock males generally have a striking metallic blue to green plumage, while females are usually coloured brown or grey, sometimes with dark green colouring; although all white versions and other variations of the bird exist.
- Species of male peacocks from Asian countries feature eye-like spots on their tail feathers – the train; while all peacocks have intricate crests.
- The diet of peacocks consists of insects; vegetation including flowers and other plant material; reptiles, including snakes; and small amphibians; among others.
- Male peacocks may mate with multiple females each year, with each female laying around 3 to 8 eggs of a brown colour, in a nest they make on the ground.
- Numbers of two peacock species have been decreasing, mainly due to habitat loss and hunting, with the Congo peafowl listed as ‘vulnerable’, and the green peafowl listed as ‘endangered’.
Fowler E, Pavo Cristatus, 2011, Animal Diversity Web, http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Pavo_cristatus/
Indian Peafowl, n.d, Smithsonian National Zoological Park, https://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/Birds/Facts/fact-peafowl.cfm
Peacock, 2016, A-Z Animals, http://a-z-animals.com/animals/peacock/
Peacock, 2016, National Geographic, http://animals.nationalgeographic.com.au/animals/birds/peacock/
Peafowl, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peafowl