Indian Peafowl, Pavo cristatus, are large, colorful relatives of the pheasants and turkeys (Phasianidae) seen in the U. S. Their original home is the lowland areas of the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka. They have been domesticated and carried all over the world. The individuals pictured here were living at the Oklahoma City Zoo, a neat place worth visiting if you are in the area.
Most refer to this species as Peacock, but the proper designation is peafowl since there are peacocks and peahens. The enormous, colorful feathers on the male originate from his tail coverts in the middle of his back and are not part of his tail feathers. His true tail has only 20 feathers while the “train” consists of over 200. Males produce their trains during the breeding season beginning in February and shed them by August.
In this image, you can see the iridescent colors of the peacock in full display. The colors you see are a refraction phenomenon caused by the interaction of light with the fine structure of the feathers. This is a common occurrence in many colorful birds.
Peafowl are ground dwellers but will fly into nearby trees when threatened. They are omnivores and consume seeds, berries, insects, and small vertebrates. They live in small groups with one peacock and 3 to 5 hens. In some parts of their native range, peafowl can become pests to farmers by damaging crops.
In the last image, you can see the object of the peacock’s affection. The peahen is not as flamboyantly colored as the male but similar in size and shape. One negative about these colorful birds is their call. It is loud and raucous and potentially annoying to neighbors of folks who keep these birds as pets. Like the guineafowl and turkeys, they possess a voice that can become a nuisance to folks that haven’t chosen to overlook their “music”.