We all know these beautiful birds and we talk in general about them as peacocks, while we should be referring to them as peafowl. Find out what else are cool about these birds.
1. Family name
These majestic birds are known as peafowl. Male birds are called peacocks and the females are known as peahens. Baby peafowl are known as peachicks. Their gender cannot be distinguished until the age of six months when they begin to change colour. At the age of three the male peafowl start to grow their tail feathers. A family of peafowl is called a bevy.
2. Only for a peahen’s ears
A peacock fans his tail feathers to attract females during mating season. The feathers create a frequency so low that it is inaudible to human ears. They can even change the frequency depending on what distance the female is at, by shaking different parts of their feathers. After mating season, the peacock sheds his beautiful train of feathers.
3. The largest flying birds
The well-known tail feathers of the peacock can grow to a length of about 1.28m. The peacock is not as big as he appears, because 60% of his body length is actually just his feathers. Despite this, the peacock is still able to fly, which makes him the largest flying bird.
4. Ground-dwelling birds
Peafowl are large and fleshy birds, which limits their distance when flying. They are able to fly like large birds, but prefer to stay on the ground. Peafowl usually fly when they feel threatened by predators, which include tigers. Peafowl also fly up into trees for a night’s sleep.
5. India’s national bird
Peafowl are not native to South Africa. These birds can be found in India, Sri Lanka and Burma and they are India’s national bird. They can also be found in England, Japan and South Africa because they are bred in these countries, but are not native to them.
6. Not what it seems
The peacock isn’t as brightly coloured as he appears to be. The bird is actually a shade of brown, but what gives him the multi-coloured look is microscopic crystals on his feathers that reflect light in different wavelengths, which then creates the majestic colours. Hummingbirds and butterflies have the same structures on their wings.
7. They eat ANYTHING
Peafowl are known to be omnivores, but they mainly eat plants like fruits, seeds and flower petals. They also like the taste of insects like ants and locusts, and eat human food like bread and other garden scraps, although it is not recommended to feed these birds scraps off the table. Peafowl also eat small reptiles like baby snakes and lizards.
8. Known to be ‘busy’ birds
Peacocks do not have only one partner throughout their lives – sometimes they can have up to five females in their harem. When a peacock is left alone he can be heartbroken due to his loneliness.
9. Versatile birds
There are three types of peafowl: Indian peafowl, green peafowl (now classified as an endangered species) and Congo peafowl. It takes 28 days for a peafowl egg to hatch and the peachick can walk within the first hour. Peafowl can live up to 20 years of age. These birds have 11 different calls and in nature one of their calls is a call for alarm.
10. White as snow
White peafowl are not albino – this defect is called leucism. It is caused by a genetic mutation that causes lack of pigmentation. It can be seen when looking at the bird’s eyes, which are still red like a normal peafowl’s would be.