Friday, 26 July 2013


Peacock, the very first thing we remember after listening the name is the days when we used to save its feather in our note books very carefully. Interesting fact is that our government also tries to save the bird always as peacock is our India's National Bird. Peacocks are large, colorful pheasants(typically blue and green) Known for their iridescent tails. These tail feathers, or coverts, spread out in a distinctive train that is more than 60 percent of the bird's total bosy length and boast colorful "eye" markings of blue,gold,red and other hues. It is a bird type Omnivore with an average life span of 20 years in wild.

A male peafowl is one of the largest flying birds when the combined length of its train and its large wingspan are considered. It is metallic blue on the crown, the feathers of the head being short and curled. The term "peacock" is commonly used to refer to birds of both sexes. Technically, only males are peacocks. Females are peahens, and together, they are called peafowl.    
There are two familiar peacock species in Asia and one more belongs to Africa. The blue peacock lives in India and Sri Lanka, while the green peacock is found in Java and Myanmar (Burma). A more distinct and little-known species, the Congo peacock, inhabits African rain forests. 

The male of either species of Asian peacocks may have a body more than two feet (60 cm) long and a train (peacock tail) six feet (180 cm) long. Peafowl such as the blue peacock have been admired by humans and kept as pets for thousands of years. Selective breeding has created some unusual color combinations, but wild birds are themselves bursting with vibrant hues.

The male’s fan is made up of some 200 long feathers. These beautiful feathers can be some 60 inches (about 150 centimeters) in length. They are greenish-blue and feature bold spots that look like eyes. As the peacock displays his fan, he shakes its feathers so that they make a rattling noise. This also helps attract the female’s attention. He shakes his wings and turns from left to right. However, even with this awesome display, it is very rare that we ever see them mate. The female usually pretends not to notice the male. 

When she is ready to lay eggs, she will decide to mate with the male. Later, an egg fairly larger than a chicken egg is layed. After 28 days of incubation, the egg hatches. There is no fixed amount of eggs that the peahen will lay. She will also sometimes lay decoy eggs away from the nest to distract predators.

After the 28 (sometimes shorter) days of incubation, the chick hatches and looks somewhat disgusting. It is still covered with substances from the inside of the egg. 

The egg left behind by the chick is quite gross-looking on the inside. There is a yellowish-brown membrane left behind called the alontoi as membrane. This is material that the peachick's (as they are called) body has digested and does not need.

When the chick is not even one day old, it can walk, eat and drink on it's own. Baby peacocks are born with flight feathers already on their wings and can fly by the time they are one week old. They need to be able to do this to fly into trees at night. The Indian peacock is Pavo cristatus; the Javanese peacock, P. muticus. The Congo peacock is Afropavo congensis. Peacocks belong to the family Phasianidae.

White Peafowl

The black shouldered or japanned mutation was initially considered as a subspecies nigripennis. In this mutation the adult male is melanistic with black wings. Young birds with nigripennis mutation are creamy white with fulvous tipped wings. The gene produces melanism in male and in peahen it produces a dilution of color with creamy white and brown markings. This mutation is commonly mistaken for an albino. 

Thus created white peafowl when mated result will be white bred to white will produce 100% white chicks. White is an incomplete dominant gene, so when a white is bred to a non-white the offspring will be split to white, and this will show itself by small white patches on its primary wing feathers. 

According to Hindu Mythology, peacock is the mount of lord Karthikeya, the god of war. A demon king named Surapadman was split into two by karthikeya and the merciful lord convereted the 2 parts as an integral part of himself, one becoming a  peacock( his mount) and another a rooster adorning his flag. Peacock displays the divine shape of Omkara when it spreads its plumes.

Myth Around Lord Krishna

When one day Krishna woke first from a rest in the forest with his cowherd friends, he decided to wake everyone and call the cows grazing at a distance by playing his flute. When Krishna blew the nectar of his lips into the flute, a melodious raga with a slow rhythm and a deep base emerged from its end. This wonderful vibration enchanted the peacocks in and around the Govardhan hills. Their hearts began to sing in happiness and fill the skies with their own song. The resonant vibrations from the flute encouraged the peacocks to dance. 

Krishna, who is the source of all dramatic arts, was pleased with their dance and encouraged them by his kind glances and sweet smiling. They cried with joy and it sounded all over the hills. In time, their sounds became indistinguishable from the echoes. They became excited and jumped up and down, flapping their wings. As the peacocks danced, the kings of peacocks made his way to the lotus feet of SriKrishna, touches His holy feet and makes a sound which SriKrishna understands as a thanking note and requesting Him to dance with them. 

 SriKrishna accepts to dance and moves amidst them, dancing like the peacocks increasing the tempo and playing to the rhythm of His steps. The bliss of the peacocks increased multifold when SriKrishna danced with them. It was so overwhelming, that some peacocks fainted. All the animals and cowherds of the Govardhan hills stood transfixed, unable to move their eyes away from the dance of SriKrishna. 

The flute in SriKrishna's hand seeing the uncommon performance of its master began to sing on its own. The spectacle was extremely splendid when seen from the top of the Govardhan hills, the heaven and even the netherland. They danced for a long time and slowly the tired peacocks stopped dancing. Then Krishna danced to the rhythm of His own steps. After many days, when he stopped dancing, there was an enchanting silence. The king of the peacocks approached SriKrishna with great humility, bowed down his head and said, "You have created a festival of bliss for which we remain eternally indebted to You. 

It is our duty to offer you 'Gurudakshina'. I request You to accept our only opulence, our plumage. Wear them on your crown as a decoration." With large tears of ecstasy, the king of peacocks dropped many divine feathers.

 SriKrishna lovingly accepted the offering of the peacocks and picked up the feathers and to everybody's joy, placed a few of them on his turban. Thus he came to wear the peacock feathers.


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