The national symbol of India, the sacred bird in Hinduism, the sacred bird of the wife of Zeus Hera in Greek mythology, the heraldic symbol, the most beautiful bird in the world, the royal or paradise bird, the hero of myths and paintings ... It's all about the peacock. Usually knowledge about him is limited by the fact that he has a beautiful tail. While this bird deserves closer attention.
The largest in the family
The common peacock, or the Indian peacock, is the largest representative of the order of the pheasant family of the hen-shaped. The weight of an adult individual reaches 4–5 kg, the body is 125 cm long, the tail is 50 cm long, the length of the feathers is up to 160 cm, the width of the feathers is up to 3 meters in the expanded state. Females are a bit smaller: body length does not exceed 1 meter, tail length is not more than 40 cm. Feathers of a fur coat are not devoured. Contrary to the existing delusion, the peacock dismisses with a luxurious fan it is the feathers of the nadhvostya, and not the tail itself.
The appearance of the bird of paradise
What a peacock looks like, every schoolboy knows. Almost all the representatives of this family of galliformes have a crest on their head resembling a crown. The common peacock has a pronounced blue color in its plumage: the chest, neck and head are purple-blue, the back is green with a metallic or golden glitter, brown spots, the edge of feathers is black, the tail is brown, the feathers of the tail are green with round spots ("eyes") and a black dot in the middle. Legs are grayish blue, pink beak. Pava is colored brownish-earthy in the upper part of the body, the upper back, the lower neck and chest are green, the sides of the head and throat are white, there is a strip near the eyes.
The difference in the color of males and females becomes noticeable by three years, with the onset of puberty.
The Indian Peacock is the most famous and recognizable of its brethren. Although all members of this family look unforgettable.
How do birds of paradise live?
Peacocks do not fly long distances. They use their wings to hide from a sudden danger or fly up a tree for the night. But they are often forced to flee from predators and be able to deftly maneuver in thick grass and bushes, without reducing speed. Therefore, they have well developed legs, long and strong, adapted to run for long distances and digging out solid ground. Peacocks can boast of excellent health - only a strong and enduring body can survive in difficult conditions.
Homeland blue peacock - Sri Lanka, India, Asia. Here they settle in a wooded area, in thickets of bushes and thick grass and not far from a water source.
Birds of paradise herbivorous creatures. The basis of their diet consists of young shoots, grass, berries, leaves, roots, grain, but they are not averse to eat small insects, invertebrates and small snakes. Under natural conditions, peacocks often settle near agricultural land and feed on grains from the fields, causing significant damage to the crop. However, the locals, who worship peacocks as a sacred bird, are happy about this neighborhood and are grateful for the extermination of pests.
Peacocks live in families: 1 male and 3-5 females. They nest right on the ground in thick grass.
The life span of a wild peacock is 20 years, and a bird can live up to 25 years in captivity.
The main enemies of the royal bird in the wild are leopards, birds of prey and humans. From the middle of the 20th century, the peacock was listed in the International Red Book, as it was on the verge of extermination because of the beautiful feathers that people used as decorations.
In the mating season, the male performs a beautiful dance in front of the female, demonstrating a chic plumage. He dances until the female pays attention to him. Then he folds his tail and turns away from the chosen one for a few minutes. He does this so that she can carefully examine the state of his feathers and draw a conclusion about his strength and health. If a male is considered fit for procreation, she gives him a sign, he presents her treat as a wedding gift, and mating occurs.
The female lays up to 10 eggs and incubates them for 28 days. Peacocks make nests on the ground in thick grass. The peacock does not leave his darling and protects her from predators: in case of danger she spreads feathers and distracts the enemy towards herself, and the female, using her inconspicuous gray-brown color, disguises herself in the grass. When the chicks are born, both parents take care of them. The color of chicks is the same as that of the mother. They grow fast, eat a lot and learn to forage themselves.
For centuries, people kept peacocks as decorations for parks, gardens, and home gardens. Royal birds are unpretentious and the content is not much different from ordinary chickens. There are several features that are worth remembering when keeping a bird of paradise in captivity.
- Peacock is afraid of drafts, so the enclosure must be warm.
- The roosts must be at a height of at least one and a half meters: so that, sitting on the perch, the male does not break the feathers of the nadkhvostiya.
- The open-air cage is necessary spacious: the developed tail should not rest against walls and a ceiling and hinder females.
- The open-air cage for walking should be at least 6 m in length, have high perches and a grid around the perimeter and on the ceiling. Flying off a perch, the bird of paradise plans a few meters, and does not jump sharply down like a chicken or a pheasant.
If conditions allow, then peacocks can be let out for a walk in the garden. With good care, they are not prone to shoots. It is necessary to be sure that they are not in danger in the face of dogs.
In the wild, the peacock is a wary bird that prefers to flee rather than join the battle. In captivity, the royal bird demonstrates an ugly character: it gets along poorly with another poultry, often attacks it, taking advantage of its superiority in size. Males are especially aggressive during the mating season and females with small chicks.
How do royal birds communicate with each other?
The royal birds have an unusually unpleasant voice: it seems that a cat with a cold or a man with a complete lack of hearing seems to be learning to play the trumpet. This contrasts with the chic appearance of the bird. Fortunately, the birds of paradise serve the voice infrequently: at the time of danger or in case of approaching rain and thunderstorms.
Until recently, it remained a mystery how these silent birds communicate with each other. Scientists have found that peacocks "speak" with each other at very low frequencies that are not audible to the human ear. This feature explains the ability to "predict" the weather and the approach of a predator. Other animals also differ in the ability to communicate at low frequencies: elephants, giraffes, alligators, whales.
Peacocks use infrasound to communicate with each other and to obtain information from the environment.
Green or Javanese Peacock
This breed lives in Southeast Asia: Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Java, and the south of China. It is painted brighter than the blue peacock (dominated by green colors in the plumage) and exceeds the latter in size. Tuft on the head is lowered. The voice is softer than the blue fellow. The tail has a flat and elongated shape. The bird is the largest of all peacocks. Males of this species are extremely aggressive in captivity, which complicates their breeding. The reproduction period is April - September. When crossed in captivity with a simple peacock, it gives fertile offspring, which is called "spalding".
Contrary to popular belief, this is not an albino, but a peacock breed with white feathers. These birds have blue eyes, and there is a pattern in the form of “eyes” in the males' tailstock, but it is painted in white. This is an artificially bred breed. Chicks are born with a yellow down on the body, acquiring white plumage as they mature. Life in natural conditions and content in captivity are no different from the life of colored breeds.
The African peacock was isolated as an independent breed only in the 20th century. This species is distinguished by a red-green-blue coloring of the plumage, a bare head of gray-blue, an orange-red throat and a crown on the head from a bunch of directly protruding feathers. This species of peacocks lives in Africa, in the Congo River basin and in the wet forests of Zaire. Representatives of this breed are smaller than their fellows. They have spurs on their feet. Feathers of males are much shorter than in other breeds, and do not have pronounced "eyes". The only monogamous type of peacocks. Pava lays and incubates 2-4 eggs for 27 days. The male all this time is next to her and protects the future offspring.
Different descriptions of the color of peacock in the literature can be explained precisely by the variety of colors.
Breeders are constantly working to breed new varieties of color, crossing different breeds of peacocks. But as independent, only four of the above are distinguished.
Peacock is a uniquely beautiful bird that for centuries has been ranked among the most beautiful birds in the world. Many myths and legends, sayings and superstitions are associated with it. Some nations deify the bird of paradise, others attribute magical powers to it. In Russia, the peacock is a symbol of arrogance, arrogance. For centuries, Hindus have worshiped peacocks as sacred birds. In Asia, the royal bird is honored for its ability to scream sharply to predict the approach of bad weather, a snake or a predator. In China, the royal bird is a symbol of happiness and well-being in the family. In Britain, the bird of paradise is a symbol of misfortune and failure. The British believe that if there are peacock feathers in the parents' house, the daughters will remain unmarried. In theatrical environment, the feather of the royal bird on the stage is a precursor to the failure of the production.
In any case, this magnificent bird does not leave anyone indifferent.
Origin and Description
Peacock is also called the bird of paradise. The origin and life of this zoological genus is fanned by a legendary halo. Today, peacocks have been tamed in most climatic regions of the earth. The closest relatives are chicken and pheasant.
The main feature of all peacock species is manifested in males. Their tail is covered on top with covering feathers. At the end of each - drawing in the form of a bright large eyes. When opened, peacock feathers gather in a translucent thick fan. In the assembled form are folded into a flat figure. The tail feathers are actually not a tail, which is actually small and neat.
Attention! The average life of beautiful birds is 20 years. Their main decoration grows to the 3rd year. Before that, the young male looks like a female.
Scientists distinguish two species in the peacock family:
- Javanese. It has 3 subspecies. This bird is common in Indonesia and Oceania. Practically not used for captive breeding.
Other characteristics of males:
- body length - up to 125 cm (ordinary), up to 300 cm (green),
- body weight - 4-6 kg for a male, up to 4 kg for a female pava,
- wing length - about 50 cm,
- tail length - up to 50 cm,
- tail decoration in the open form reaches a length of 160 cm,
- on the head there is a crest.
Attention! The females of both species are plain in color, relatively small, without a veil.
The habitat and habits of an ordinary species
The natural habitat of the Indian peafowl is Southeast Asia. Birds choose the river coast, bushes, agricultural crops and forest logging. They feed on the meadows and cultivated human fields with seeds and plants. They eat insects and rarely small animals, including snakes.
The mountainous areas of Sri Lanka and fertile areas near the Indian jungle - the habitat of peacocks. To live in other regions, they need suitable weather conditions:
- warm air much of the season
- high humidity,
- abundance of lush and dense vegetation (for arranging the nest-hiding place),
- no sharp temperature changes.
The habits of peacocks ordinary species:
- Sexual maturity occurs at 2-3 years of age.
- In the wild and in captivity, the male lives with 3-5 pavas. The mating season begins in April and lasts until the beginning of autumn.
- Peacocks build nests from a small amount of grass in a secluded place. At one time one chicken lays 4-10 pcs. A tame bird produces up to 3 clutches per season.
- Birds are sleeping on the tree.
- The incubation period for eggs is 28 days.
Males walk importantly and efficiently, with a sense of superiority. Therefore, folk folklore transferred the name of the bird to the narcissists. Peas move less gracefully. But if necessary, both the female and the male are quite agile. They are able to quickly escape and hide from the enemy in the undergrowth.
Flight and other features
Peacocks can fly, but they do it reluctantly. The main incentive is imminent danger. In the face of the predator, the bird dramatically swings its large wings and flies a few meters away: to the side in the undergrowth or up to the tree. Separate subspecies make and longer flights. But for long-haul flights, like other chicken relatives, they are not capable.
Breeders isolate interesting features in birds:
- They react sharply to snakes. On the approach of creeping reptiles herald a disturbing voice. This quality is used in farms.
- Peacocks spoil the crops. In the case of home keeping pets are isolated from crops.
- Longer and higher fly those species that live in the wild at high altitude.
- Peacocks do not get along well with other poultry.
- They normally carry snow and cold. In winter, they are kept like chickens or ducks.
In India, peacocks are considered sacred animals. In most countries, hunting for them is prohibited by law. Today, their population is declining, therefore, requires protection.
Species of peacocks
The variety of color and structure of peacocks suggests that these birds have many kinds. However, this is not the case. Rhode Pavlinov has only two species:
- ordinary or blue,
- green or javanese.
These two species have significant differences not only in appearance, but also in reproduction.
Ordinary or blue
This is a very beautiful bird that has a front part of the chest, neck and head of a purple-blue color with a green or golden hue. Their backs are green with metallic luster, brown spots, blue strokes and black-edged feathers. The tail of the peacocks of this genus is brown, the feathers of the upper tail are green, having round spots with a black spot in the center. The legs are bluish-gray, the beak is pink.
The length of the male is from one hundred eighty to two hundred and thirty centimeters. Its tail can reach fifty centimeters longand the tail plume is about one and a half meters.
Female This type of peacocks has an earthy-brown with a wavy pattern the upper part of the body, green, shiny chest, upper back and lower neck. Her throat and sides of the head are white, and her eyes have a strip. On the head of the female is a brown tuft with a green tinge.
The length of the female is from ninety centimeters to one meter. Its tail is about thirty seven centimeters.
Two subspecies of the common peacock are common on the island. Sri Lanka and India. The black-winged peacock (one of the subspecies) has wings with a bluish tint and black shiny shoulders. The female of this peacock has a lighter color, its neck and back are covered with yellowish and brown divorces.
Despite all these prejudices and superstitions, one can be sure that the appearance of peacocks will give everyone a lot of aesthetic pleasure.