OCCURRENCE: This species is native to South- Asia, respectively to the forests from India and Sri Lanka, countries where it is protected, being in fact India's national bird (designated by law in 1963).

MORPHOLOGICAL FEATURES: The sexual dimorphism is highly marked to this bird.

The male is 2 - 2,3 m long and weighs 3,5 - 4 kg. Its head, neck and gizzard are metallic blue; around the eyes, there are two white-yellowish linear areas, uncovered with feathers. - the contour feathers of its wings present a striped plumage, with innumerable dark stripes characterised by a metallic green blue sheen, broken and apparently irregular, that alternate with light yellow stripes. Its primary remiges are ginger brown. - its belly and the side parts of its body are dark, with a metallic sheen. On its back, there is a white area made up of scale - like feathers, with a green - golden sheen. - its train, mistaken by many people for its tail, is made up of the rump feathers and the tail coverts, reaching the length of 1,6-1,8 m. The prevailing colour of its train varies from copper to a hue of metallic green -bluish, depending on the beams of light. Its train is made up of three types of feathers: - forklike feathers - are the longest ones, have no ocelli; - feathers with ocelli - the most numerous ones (about 150), present different lengths, their ocelli having different sizes; they can be golden, copperlike, green and blue. - feather fringe - the marginal feathers of the train, particularly asymmetrical, with a modest ocellus or without. - the tail, situated under the train, is apparent after the moulting season or in the moment of its display in the mating season, being made up of 20 brown - grey feathers.

The female is 0,9-1,0 m long and weighs 2,5-3,5 kg. The colours of the peahen are modest, brown-grey hues, as an adaptation to hatching on the ground, making it hard for the predators to notice it during this period. Its head is brown with a green sheen, in the upper part and dirty-white in the lower part; it also has the uncovered areas, but not as obvious as the ones on the peacock's head. The neck and part of the gizzard are iridescent green. The back, the remiges and the tail are brown-grey, which makes it difficult to be noticed in the hatching season. The abdomen and the side parts of the body are dirty- white.

The juveniles have at first the same colours with the females, but as they grow up differences start to show between the two sexes, since the very age of 6-8 weeks. The young females display the same colours when they are mature, while the juvenile males start taking on the colours of the adults 12-18 months after hatching, with the specification that their first full train grows in the autumn of the third year.

males and female

HABITAT: This species is widespread in the warm humid regions in the two countries, being common to the forests from northern India up to the altitude of 2000 m. The favourite habitat of the blue peacock is constituted by strongly fragmented forests, made up of clusters of tall trees as well as thickets, and also by numerous open areas, by areas covered with grassy vegetation, by forest edges, by small clusters of trees and, finally, by shrubs. The cultivated fields are also visited by the blue peacock on a regular basis, the peafowl enjoying particular consideration on the part of the human beings, which allows them the exploration of areas neighbouring different rural places. Sometimes, this species can be met even in the towns of India, semi tamed, being, in fact, a species tolerated and accepted by a sizeable number of people. An indispensable element of its habitat is represented by water. This explains the distribution of blue peafowl populations, the highest denseness overlapping the hydrographical network, the areas temporarily liable to inundation (submersed fields), the permanent or temporary marshes, as well as different humid areas caused by Monsoon downpours. This aspect is in relation to the fact that they need water on a daily basis, preferring to bathe daily.

ETHOLOGY: The blue peacock is a sedentary polygamous bird, that lives for the best part of the year in more or less numerous groups. These groups scatter at the beginning of spring, when the males try to form a harem of two up to six females. According to its activity at a given moment, the blue peacock will prospect areas of diverse vegetation: at night or during its siesta, it will favour tall trees, when searching for food or during the mating display, it will be met in open wide areas, as well as in marshy areas, while in the nestling season, the females will be quartered in the areas with rare shrubs. It is a bird with a well - set daily activity, faithful to the place where it sleeps, searching for food in the same sector or in neighbouring areas. It is a very cautious bird and often plays the part of giving the alarm signal for other animals, being the first to notice the possible predators, when it emits loud high-pitched cries. The mating season overlaps the rainy season. The mating display takes place on the ground, the males are territorial, chase away all the intruders in the area and seek to attract as many females in their harem as possible. During the period after mating, each female prepares a rudimentary nest on the ground, usually next to a shrub or a bushy plant. The clutch consists of 4 to 7 eggs (according to some authors, even more), that the peahens brood approximately 28 days. The peachicks are nidifugeous, following their mother from the very first day of their life and remaining next to it for several months. An aspect that proves the extraordinary adaptation of this species to the surroundings is the fact that 7-10 days after having hatched, the peachicks are able to fly; thus, if in the first week, they sleep the night next to the peahen, they are soon able to follow their mother on the tallest tree branches (a behaviour also displayed by the peafowl bred freely in different parks).

FOOD: The wide range of food the peafowl feed on ranks them in the category of the omnivorous birds, their daily and seasonal nutrition being made up of both vegetal and animal elements. Among the vegetal elements, we mention: different fruits grown by wood species, seeds of grassy species, buds, young leaves, floral buds and even flowers. The animal elements are: insects, warms, small vertebrates like mollusca, batrachia, reptiles (lizards and even snakes), small mamals (rodents) and even eggs or helpless bird chicks that keep the nest, in the first days of life, and that the peafowl come across occasionally.

PREDATORS: Among the potential predators of the blue peafowl there are: the tiger and the panther, that take advantage of the open grassy areas, the mongoose, which is very dangerous to the peachicks or the peafowl juveniles, as well wild boars, that can sniff the clutches, respectively the hatching places of the females.

towards home page
  Site developed by Farado.ro